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Upton I 160
Dying/Developmental psychology/Upton: the evidence shows that even preschool children with life-threatening illnesses such as leukaemia come to understand that they will die and that death is irreversible (Bluebond-Langner, 1977)(1).
Upton I 163
Overtime, terminally ill children stop thinking about the future and focus on the here and now. Indeed, children experience the same emotions in death as adults — fear, anger, sadness and finally acceptance.
Preschool children may not talk about dying, but they can reveal their fears through temper tantrums.
School-age children are better able to talk about their fears and there is evidence that talking to a child about their death can be beneficial for both the child and the parents, if the child shows the desire to do so (Faulkner, 1997)(2).
School-age children often show a desire to continue with everyday activities such as going to school as long as possible, so as to feel The response of the adolescent to becoming terminally ill clearly reflects the developmental tasks of this period (Stevens and Dunsmore, 1996)(3).
In this age group, the focus is often on body image, meaning that body changes such as weight gain or loss of hair will provoke feelings of distress.
(…) there is evidence that middle aged adults fear death far more than younger and older adults (Kalish and Reynolds. 1976)(4), although older adults are most likely to think and talk about death. Younger adults who are dying often feel more cheated than older adults (Kalish, 1987)(5). They may feel that they have not had enough time to do all the things they wanted to.



1. Bluebond-Langner, M (1977) Meanings of death to children, in Feifel, H (ed.) New Meanings of
Death. New York: McGraw-Hill.
2. Faulkner, KW (1997) Talking about death with a dying child. American Journal of Nursing,
97:65-9.
3. Stevens, MM and Duns more, JC (1996) Adolescents who are living with a life-threatening illness, in Corr, CA and Balk, DE (Eds) Handbook of Adolescent Death and Bereavement, New York: Springer.
4. Kalish, RA and Reynolds, DK (1976) Death and Ethnicity: A psycho-cultural study. Los Angeles, CA: University of Southern California Press.
5. Kalish, RA (1987) Death and dying, in Silverman, P (ed.) The Elderly as Modern Pioneers.
Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Developmental Psychology
Upton I
Penney Upton
Developmental Psychology 2011


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