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Chapter 12

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Nevena Simic

PSY333 – Chapter 12 Chapter 12 – Psychological Issues in Advancing and Terminal Illness  During the first year of life, the main cause of death are congenital abnormalities and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), with three babies dying of SIDS each week in Canada o Cause is not entirely known, the infant just stops breathing o It’s more likely to occur in lower-class urban environments, when the mother smoked during pregnancy, and when the baby is put to sleep on the stomach or side  Cancer, especially leukemia, is the second leading cause of death in youngsters between ages 1 and 15, and its incidence is rising o Leukemia strikes the bone marrow, producing excessive amounts of white blood cells and leading to sever anemia and other complications o More than 80% of its victims survive the disease thanks to technological advances  Up to age 5 or 6 most children think of death as a great sleep o Children at this age or more curious than frightened about death, partly because they don’t know it’s irreversible and final  Between ages 5 to 9, the idea that death is final may develop, although most children of this age do not have a biological understanding of death o For some children, death is personified as a shadowy figure  The idea that death is universal and inevitable may not develop until 9 or 10 o Child typically understands the process of death (burial/cremation), knows that the body decomposes, and realizes that the person who has died will not return  In the age 15 to 24, death rate is low but the main cause of death is unintentional injury, usually involving automobiles o Suicide is the second leading cause of death, homicide is 4 th o Heart disease, respiratory disease and congenital account for most of the remaining  Young adults diagnosed with a terminal illness are the hardest to work with, they tend to be angry because they are (otherwise) not sick and they’re still young with incomplete lives  Death is more feared in middle age than in later adult years o The mid-life crisis may occur in the 40’s/50’s because it may stem from the gradual realization of impending death  it may be realized by the death of a parent, acquaintance, friend or by bodily signs that one is aging  The main cause of premature death in adulthood (that is, death that occurs before the projected age of 79) is sudden death due to heart attack or stroke  One study found that the likelihood of a family member dying before the age of 65 was increased for those who experienced a variety of different adverse childhood events including neglect, abuse, domestic violence in the home, and criminal acts by a family member  The elderly are generally more prepared to face death than anyone else PSY333 – Chapter 12 o Typically the elderly die of degenerative disease such as cancer, stroke, heart failure, or just general physical decline o The terminal phase of illness is generally shorter for them because there is often more than one biological competitor for death  In Canada, older people age 65 and up now experience less morbidity and fewer restricted activity days than was true 15 years ago, but the same is not
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