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Chapter 12

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PSYC 3170
Gerry Goldberg

1 Chapter 12 Notes: Psychological Issues in Advancing and terminal illness How does death differ across the life span? 100 years ago people died primarily from infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis, influenza, or pneumonia People on average can expect to live 80.3 years When death comes it will stem from chronic illness, such as heart disease or cancer Death in Infancy or Childhood Infant mortality rate: is still high; during 1990-2005 Canadas infant morality decreased from 6.8 to 5.4 o Remains significant disparity in the rates of infant deaths across different socio-economic groups Example: rich neighborhood in Canada have the same morality death as it is in Sweden at 4.0, whereas poor neighbourhood are at 6.5 The difference between this may be due to socio-economic; however, the differences in Aboriginals is the same, suggesting unrelated to socio-economic Sudden death syndrome (SIDS): can happen during the first year of life, due to congenital abnormalities o 3 babies dying of SIDS each week o Higher among Aboriginals Causes are unknown, baby just stops breathing More likely to occur in lower-class urban environments When mother smoked during pregnancy Or when baby is placed to sleep on stomach Adjustments are better if parents do not blame themselves for the death Back to Sleep campaign (1999) resulted in 65% in number of SIDS death External causes are the main death of children under age of 15 o 42% off all deaths o Early childhood death caused by: Motor vehicle accidents Accidental drowning Poisoning Injuries Falls at home Later on automobile accidents account for external deaths o Rates of suicide have increased in children ages 10-14 Cancer, especially leukemia is second leading death in children ages 1-5 o Leukemia is a cancer that strikes the bone marrow Childrens understanding of death 2 Up to age 5, children think death is a great sleep o Curious by death rather than saddened or frightened 5-9 idea that death is final may develop, but most children do not have a biological understanding of death o Personified into a ghost or devil Death is universal and inevitable develops at 9 or 10 Death in Young adulthood Major cause of death in this age group is unintentional injury = car accidents Suicide is second leading Cancer is third leading cause Homicide is fourth Heart disease is the rest of this group Reactions to young adults death Young adults = products of socialization and education and start their own families o Death is therefore tragic o Young adults receive terminal illness reaction = shocked, mad, cheated of life, sense of injustice, etc. Death in middle age Middle age death begins to assume more realistic o More common for people to develop chronic illnesses that can kill them o Gradual realization of impending death Fear of death = symbolically out as a fear of loss of physical appearance, sexual prowess, athletic ability o Life changes may be made to act in this response such as: Divorce, remarriage to younger person, job change Premature death Premature death: death occurs before the projected age of 79 sudden death such as hearth attack or stroke o Sudden and painless Disadvantage: not allowing people to prepare their exit o Some ways = more graceful departure o Family does not have to go through emotional torment watching patient suffer when condition worsens Death rates in middle-aged group has declined o Lung cancer (due to smoking)= more for women then men o Heart disease and stroke = more for men than women Death in old age Is more easier in old age, more prepared for death o Made preparations by seeing friends die3 o Come to terms with loss of appearance and ability to perform goals Death (degenerative)= cancer, stroke, heart failure, general physical decline (predisposition to infection), organ failure Terminal phase of illness = shorter (more than one biological competitor for death) o Achieve death with dignity Heath psychologists study factors predicting mortality in elderly o New illnesses and worsening pre-existing conditions o Psychological distress o Men: association between distress and mortality is for socio-demographic differences and presence of chronic disease Lower education and widowhood (also account) o Women: experiencing greater financial distress Health goals for elderly = improving quality of life Women live longer (82) than men (77) WHAT ARE THE PSYCHOLOGICAL ISSUES IN ADVANCING ILLNESS? Continued treatment and advancing illness Radiation therapy and chemotherapy for cancer produce discomfort, nausea, etc. o Chronic illness = needs treatment and have bad side effects Have multiple surgeries or chemical therapy to save li
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