The young child's immature understanding of the concepts related to death serves to heighten anxiety about death and interferes with successful adjustment to loss. This study was a randomized trial of the efficacy of a 3-week school-based educational program in the promotion of the concepts of death in 4-to 8-year-old children (prekindergarten through second grade). The Smilansky Death Concept Questionnaire, a validated and published structured interview, was administered pre- and postintervention phase to all study participants (N = 184). The experimental group received three interventions: (1) a series of six 30 to 45-minute presentations about concepts of death, (2) teacher educational presentation, and (3) parent educational presentation. Significant mean gains were noted for the experimental group as compared to the control group in the total death concept score, the total score for human death, the total score for animal death, and two of the four factors studied, that of causality and that of inevitability and old age. The gain in total death concept score as a result of the 3-week educational program was equivalent to the amount of conceptual development that is seen in one year in the absence of intervention.
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