Children's understanding of dying and death: A multinational grounded theory study

Title

Children's understanding of dying and death: A multinational grounded theory study

Creator

McPoland P; Grossoehme DH; Sheehan DC; Stephenson P; Downing J; Deshommes T; Gassant PYH; Friebert S

Publisher

Palliative and Supportive Care

Date

2023

Subject

Child; child; adult; article; controlled study; female; human; male; palliative therapy; sibling; clinical article; interview; Only Child; multicenter study; adolescent; thinking; qualitative research; religion; grounded theory; genetic transcription; Uganda; Haiti; altruism; vocabulary

Description

OBJECTIVES: The ways in which children understand dying and death remain poorly understood; most studies have been carried out with samples other than persons with an illness. The objective of this study was to understand the process by which children directly involved with life-limiting conditions understand dying and death. <br/>METHOD(S): This qualitative study obtained interview data from N = 44 5-18-year-old children in the USA, Haiti, and Uganda who were pediatric palliative care patients or siblings of patients. Of these, 32 were children with a serious condition and 12 were siblings of a child with a serious condition. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, verified, and analyzed using grounded theory methodology. <br/>RESULT(S): Loss of normalcy and of relationships emerged as central themes described by both ill children and siblings. Resilience, altruism, and spirituality had a bidirectional relationship with loss, being strategies to manage both losses and anticipated death, but also being affected by losses. Resiliency and spirituality, but not altruism, had a bidirectional relationship with anticipating death. Themes were consistent across the 3 samples, although the beliefs and behaviors expressing them varied by country. SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS: This study partially fills an identified gap in research knowledge about ways in which children in 3 nations understand dying and death. While children often lack an adult vocabulary to express thoughts about dying and death, results show that they are thinking about these topics. A proactive approach to address issues is warranted, and the data identify themes of concern to children.

Rights

Article information provided for research and reference use only. PedPalASCNET does not hold any rights over the resource listed here. All rights are retained by the journal listed under publisher and/or the creator(s).

Citation List Month

2023 SE5 - Low Resource Setting

Citation

McPoland P; Grossoehme DH; Sheehan DC; Stephenson P; Downing J; Deshommes T; Gassant PYH; Friebert S, “Children's understanding of dying and death: A multinational grounded theory study,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed July 16, 2024, https://pedpalascnetlibrary.omeka.net/items/show/19442.