Feature of view on life and death in developmental stages with literature review in Japan

DOI
  • Hayashi Rika
    Master’s Programs, Division of Integrated Health Sciences, Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine
  • Okajima Ayano
    Nagoya University Hospital
  • Shindo Sae
    Health Promotion Section Arakawa City Office
  • Sugimura Ayumi
    Division of Integrated Health Sciences, Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine
  • Ando Shoko
    Division of Integrated Health Sciences, Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine

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Other Title
  • 国内文献検討による発達段階における死生観の特徴

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Abstract

To clarify and determine the characteristics of views on life and death among populations ranging from infants to the elderly in Japan, we identified 179 references from 1983 to 2019 using Ichushi (Ver. 5); we then analyzed 80 of these references. During infancy, 4-year-old children are just beginning to understand the concepts of “non-functionality,” “irreversibility,” “universality,” and “causality,” all of which can be related to death. However, 6- to 8-year-old children can recognize most of these. School-aged children recognize that death can apply to them; this perspective is accompanied by an increase in negative perceptions of the concept. Those undergoing puberty have “rebirth thoughts” that increase their affinity for death. Although adolescents experience dread and anxiety about death, they often think about the phenomenon and regard it positively. During middle adulthood, people begin to think of death with aversion, evasion, and fear. In old age, individuals tend to accept death; however, one-fourth of this population continues to perceive it negatively. Our findings suggest that people develop characteristic views of life and death at each developmental stage, and their levels of anxiety, fear of death, and bereavement are influenced by their families and life experiences.

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