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Presentation on theme: "CHAPTER 17 THE FINAL CHALLENGE: DEATH AND DYING"— Presentation transcript:


2 Learning Objectives How is death defined? Why is the definition of death controversial? How does the social meaning of death vary across groups? What factors influence life expectancy? Is it possible to extend life expectancy? What is the difference between programmed theories of aging and damage theories of aging? Give an example of each.

3 Biological Definitions of Death
Harvard Definition: Total Brain Death Unresponsive to stimuli No movement or breathing No reflexes Flat EEG Euthanasia: “Happy” or “good” death Hastening death of someone suffering incurable illness or injury

4 Social Meanings of Death
Modern American: Medical failure More traditional societies Natural part of life cycle Grieving Practices Vary By culture: Weeping/partying By ethnicity: Wake/Shiva

5 Life Expectancy Expected Age at Death U.S.: 76.5 years White females: 80 years White males: 75 years Black females: 75 years Black males: 68 years Ancient Rome: 30 years


7 Male and female life expectancies at birth in selected countries
Male and female life expectancies at birth in selected countries. Life expectancies vary widely from country to country but are generally higher for females than for males.

8 Theories of Aging and Death
Programmed Theories Maximum life span (species specific) Hayflick Limit Damage Theories Free radicals Interaction of the two – or more

9 Learning Objectives What are Kübler-Ross’ stages of dying? How valid and useful is the theory? What is the Parkes/Bowlby attachment model of bereavement? Is there evidence to support this model?

10 Kübler-Ross’ Stages of Dying
Common set of stage-like emotions Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance Criticisms Death is not a stage-like process Course of illness not considered Individual differences

11 Attachment Model of Bereavement
Bereavement: The state of loss Grieving: Emotional expressions Anticipatory grief Mourning: Culturally approved reactions Parks/Bowlby Model Reaction to separation from a loved one Numbness, yearning, despair, reorganization

12 Patterns of Bereavement
Dual Process Model Loss oriented coping: Coping with emotional blow of loss Restoration coping: Coping with the practical challenges of living, and re-energizing

13 Patterns of grief differ greatly from person to person
Patterns of grief differ greatly from person to person. Some people show little grief; many experience disrupted functioning for about a year and then minimal grief in the second year; and about 15% experience chronic and significant psychological problems.

14 Learning Objectives What is the infant’s understanding of separation and death?

15 The Infant Object permanence Attachment by 6-8 months Separation anxiety at loss Protest, yearning, searching, despair Behavioral: eating, sleeping, regression Less distress if attached to other parent Eventual new attachments and recovery

16 Learning Objectives How do children’s conception of death compare to a “mature” understanding of death? What factors might influence a child’s understanding of death? What is a dying child’s understanding of death? How do dying children cope with the prospect of their own death? How do children grieve?

17 The Child The Mature Concept of Death Finality, irreversibility, universality, biological causality Age 3-5: Universality Dead live under altered circumstances Reversible – like sleep Age 5-7: Finality, irreversibility Level of cognitive development, experience


19 The Dying Child Young child aware of impending death Adults often secretive Same range of emotions as dying adults Anxiety revealed in behavior Parental control is helpful Need support of important others

20 The Bereaved Child Children do grieve Express grief differently than adults do Misbehavior, strike out, rage Lack adult coping skills Will use denial, avoidance Most adjust successfully

21 Learning Objectives What is the adolescent’s understanding of death? Is an adolescent’s reaction to death different from the reactions of a child or adult?

22 The Adolescent Higher levels of understanding Concerns of adolescence Body image, identity, independence May carry on internal dialogue with dead Devastated at death of close friend Adult-like grieving

23 Learning Objectives How do family members react and cope with the loss of a spouse, a child, and a parent? What factors contribute to effective and ineffective coping with grief? What can be done for those who are dying and for those who are bereaved to better understand and face the reality of death?

24 The Adult Death of family member difficult Death of spouse more expected with age More difficult when young (non-normative) Elevated levels of stress Risk increases for illness and death Signs of recovery after 2 years

25 Loss of a Child No loss more difficult Experienced as untimely, unjust Broken attachments Guilt at failure to protect child May continue relationship w/dead child Marital problems often increase afterward

26 The Loss of a Parent Lasting problems may occur if young Less tragic than unexpected death Adjustment not as difficult Guilt: Not doing enough for parent Broken attachment

27 Grief Work Perspective
Emotions must be confronted: Detachment Psychoanalytic, also popular view May be a culturally biased belief Grief work may actually cause more distress Delayed grief reaction predicted w/out it Not supported by research Detachment not necessary

28 Who Copes and Who Succumbs
Secure infant attachment related to coping Low self-esteem related to more difficulty Cause of death influences bereavement Support system essential Additional life stressors detrimental Positive outcomes often found

29 Hospice Dying person decides what is needed De-emphasize prolonging life Pain control emphasized Normal setting (home if possible) Bereavement counseling for entire family Research shows positive outcomes

30 Learning Objectives What are the major themes of lifespan development that have been covered throughout the text?

31 Major Developmental Themes of Text
Nature and nurture truly interact We are whole people throughout the life span Developmental domains related Development proceeds in multiple direction with both continuity and discontinuity There is much plasticity in development We are diverse individuals and are active in our own development Development is a lifelong process


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