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Children's understanding of death: a review of three components of a death concept


, : Children's understanding of death: a review of three components of a death concept. Child Development 55(5): 1671-1686

This review of the empirical literature on the development of the concept of death focuses on 3 components of that concept: irreversibility, nonfunctionality, and universality. These findings overall suggest that the majority of healthy children in modern urban-industrial societies achieve an understanding of all 3 components between 5 and 7 years of age. Since this is also the age at which most children make the transition from preoperational to concrete-operational thinking, some relationship between these 2 processes seems likely. However, attempts to empirically validate that relationship have thus far yielded ambiguous results. Possible reasons for this ambiguity are suggested.

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PMID: 6510050


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