Death is a universal experience, one that we will all eventually face
Despite this, the topic has only recently begun to be studied by developmental psychologists
Some things that are being explored:
Defining Death: Determining the Point at Which Life Ends
Medicine’s definition changes; people who would have been considered dead a few years ago now would be considered alive
individual passes into permanent death
Death is not as straightforward a definition as it seems!
where brain activity is measured, has become the medical measure of death (no possibility of restoring brain function).
brain death info: just fyi
- There is still some question about using only brain waves as the death definition.
- It emphasizes only biology not the qualities that make people human (thinking, feeling, etc.).
Death Across the Lifespan: Causes & Reactions
We associate death with old age, but death occurs throughout the life span.
the US has a high________mortality rate.
Infant and Childhood Death
Infant and Childhood Deaths:
SIDS usually strikes between__to__months, suddenly.
There is no known cause for SIDS so parents often feel intense guilt (and acquaintances may be suspicious).
what are the most frequent cause of death in childhood but there are a substantial number of homicides (4th leading cause of death between ages 1 & 9).
Children do not have a realistic view of death.
Death in Adolescence
Death in Young Adulthood
Death in Middle Adulthood
Most people know when they are dying; it is caretakers who tend to have more difficulties communicating about it.
The Stages of Death: Understanding the Process of Dying
Kubler-Ross’ 5 stages of death (Berk text)
"Why me/her?" "Why not you?"
In this stage people may be very difficult to be around.
At this stage individuals are trying to negotiate their way out of the death.
Typically, people try to "make deals" with God.
Sometimes the bargain creates an event or date until which the person can hold on to (such as a grandchild's wedding, or a 100th birthday).
The individual at this stage is overwhelmed by a deep sense of loss.
Reactive depression is a type of depression based on what has already occurred, such as loss of dignity, health, etc.
Preparatory depression is the anticipation of future losses, such as the loss of a relationship.
People are fully aware that death is impending
In this stage individuals near death make peace with death and may want to be left alone.
Persons in this stage are often unemotional and uncommunicative.
Criticisms of Kubler-Ross's model
However, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross is still influential and is credited with being the first person to bring the phenomenon of death into public awareness.
Choosing the way one dies - people now have choices
It is sometimes difficult to get medical personnel to follow these directives
To gain more control over decisions regarding their death, increasing numbers of people are signing living wills
is a death in which a person provides the means for a terminally ill patient to commit suicide.
Dr. Jack Kevorkian is best know for this role and has been prosecuted in the U.S.
Laws are more accepting in other countries.
Assisted suicide is one form of EUTHANASIA, the practice of assisting terminally ill people to die more quickly.