PSYC 2314 Epilogue

PSYC 2314
Lifespan Development
Death and Dying
The Dying Person’s Emotions
• Kubler-Ross’s Stages of Dying:
The Dying Person’s Emotions
• Age-related differences in the
conceptualization of death:
– Young children: upset because it suggests the
idea of being separated from loved ones.
– Adolescents: primarily concerned with the
effect of their condition on their appearance and
social relationships.
The Dying Person’s Emotions
• Young Adult: coping with dying often
produces rage and depression.
• Middle-Aged Adult: primarily concerned
about meeting important obligations and
• Older Adult: depend more on the situation.
Deciding How to Die
• Steps for a “Good Death”—one that occurs
swiftly, with little pain, and allows the
individual to die with dignity, surrounded
by loved ones.
– Living will
– Proxy
Palliative Care
• DNR (do not resuscitate)
• Double Effect: a situation in which
medication relieves pain and hastens death
• Generally, few doctors and nurses are
trained to handle the psychological demands
of palliative care.
• Advantages:
– Respects patients’ dignity, allowing them to
have visitors at any time.
– The continual presence of a close friend or
family member cushions the patient against fear
and loneliness of impending death.
– When death does occur, the staff continues to
minister to the psychological and other needs of
the patient’s family.
• Disadvantages:
– Legal and ethical questions surrounding the wisdom of
a patient’s accepting a death sentence, perhaps
prematurely, and simply waiting to die.
– Patients must be terminally ill; it’s restricted to a
minority of the dying.
– Program may grow so rapidly that it outstrips available
well-trained personnel. Potential burnout of both
professionals and volunteers.
Deciding How to Die
• Physician-assisted suicide: someone
provides the means for a person to end his
or her life
• Voluntary euthanasia: someone
intentionally acts to terminate the life of a
suffering person.
Social Context of Dying
• Religious Variations
– Buddhists: disease and death are among life’s
inevitable sufferings
– Hindus and Sikhs: helping the dying to relinquish their
ties to this world and prepare for the next is considered
an obligation for the immediate family.
– Jewish: preparations for death are not emphasized
because hope for life will never be extinguished.
– Christians: death is the beginning of eternity in heaven
or hell, and thus welcome or fear it.
Social Context of Dying
• Cultural Variations
– African traditions: elders take on an important
new status through death
– Muslim nations: death affirms faith in Allah
and caring for the dying is a holy reminder of
Social Context of Dying
• Two themes that emerge in cultural
variations of death practices are:
– Religious and spiritual concerns often reemerge
– Returning to one’s roots is a common urge.
Social Context of Dying
• Mourning Process
– More private, less emotional, and less religious.
– Small memorial services or cremations have
generally replaced large funeral.
• Bereavement
– Much-needed support of friends and family has
essentially given way to well-meaning advice
that counsels indulging in everything except
feelings of grief.
Social Context of Dying
• Steps to help someone recover from
– Listens
– Sympathizes
– Not ignore the real pain and complicated
emotions involved in the recovery process