Hindu and Christian children's concepts of life, death, and afterward
Bryce, Suzanne Nellie.
Children's understanding of death is likely to mediate how effectively they cope with the experience of the death of loved ones, or in the case of severely ill children, their own impending deaths. In order to develop the most appropriate forms of death education and counseling, developmental differences between children in the formation of a coherent concept of death must be understood. Research to date has mainly been focused on theoretical concepts instead of empirical research and indicates that mature concepts of death typically include four components: irreversibility, nonfunctionality, inevitability, and causality. This study found systematic differences in beliefs about death and afterlife both between ages and religious groups. However, much variation existed within each group. Overall, it appears that Hindus generally have more uniform beliefs than Christians. Also, Hindu beliefs are less varied among adults than among the two groups of children, while Christian beliefs actually seem to be more diverse among adults than children, perhaps because of the way adults interpret questions about spirituality.
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