Sunday, December 9, 2018

Fear of death: Nature, development and moderating factors

Menzies, Ross G and Menzies, Rachel E. Fear of death: Nature, development and moderating factors [online]. In: Menzies, RE (Editor); Menzies, RG (Editor); Iverach, L (Editor). Curing the Dread of Death Theory, Research and Practice. Samford Valley, QLD: Australian Academic Press, 2018: 21-39.;dn=911350014779621;res=IELHSS

Abstract: How do we come to a mature view of death? Does it emerge in stages and, if so, what do these involve? Does anxiety arise as soon as a child can conceptualise death, or does it only appear with a fully developed, adult understanding of the concept? And what do we regard as an adult conception of death? Slaughter (2005) argues that the defining characteristic is to recognise death as a biological event caused by the failure of body systems. In contrast, young children may claim that the 'bogey man' or some other punishing agent is the cause of death. But would all adults pass Slaughter's (2005) test of death comprehension? After all, as Hoffman, Johnson, Foster, and Wright (2010) point out, adults can't agree on when life begins let alone why we take our last breath. Some will maintain that God has called a person home, and that God is the ultimate cause of death (and its creator, punishing us for the sins in the Garden of Eden). Clearly, death is a complex notion and religious and spiritual positions complicate the matter considerably.

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