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Experiencing and understanding the illness during early and middle childhood

Tjaša Tomažič (2018) Experiencing and understanding the illness during early and middle childhood. MSc thesis.

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    In my master's thesis, I deal with child's experience and understanding of illness and hospitalization in early and middle childhood. This area is still often overlooked in Slovenia and children are therefore unprepared to face with the disease and, in particular, by hospitalization. Both can can cause distress with a negative impact on child’s development and treatment of the disease. The theoretical part of my thesis is dedicated to emotions. I summarize different definitions and divisions of emotions and point out how the develop. Then I define the childhood itself, dedicating special attention to early and middle childhood and cognitive and emotional development in these two periods. I also present child's understanding and experience of illness and child's understanding and experience of hospitalization. At the end I speak about prevention in the area of child's experience and understanding of illness and hospitalization. In the empirical part I present findings of a qualitative research carried out on 20 children in early childhood and 21 children in middle childhood. Through the implementation of semi-structured interviews, helping myself by using image material, I became acquainted with their understanding and experiencing of illness and hospitalization. In those interviews I touched both the child's experience and understanding of easier illness, being cured in the home bed and checkups at the doctor, as well as the more severe illness that requires hospitalization of the child. I was also interested in the child's view of how his parents experience the situation of child’s illness or hospitalization. I analized the obtained data qualitatively and founded a theory on that base. The results of interviews analysis have shown that ill and hospitalized children most often experience the feeling of sadness. Child's experience with that kind of situations is significantly influenced by child's understanding of the illness and hospitalization. Children who have already experienced illness and hospitalization have more often used positive words and pleasant feelings with regard to these and other related situations. Children who have not yet experienced illness or hospitalization have more often used negative references and unpleasant feelings. Differences occured between age groups and also within an age group. Conversations with children in middle childhood clearly indicated that these children are at a higher level of cognitive development than children in their early childhood. Their responses were more complex and the children gave them with more details. They were also recognizing better their own emotions and were more likely to correctly assume emotions of their parents. Early childhood children oftenly explained their answers with unrealistic descriptions, using all their imagination. In both age groups, differences within a particular group were mostly a result of the child's past experience of illness and hospitalization. More complex answers were given by children with more or multiple experience.

    Item Type: Thesis (MSc thesis)
    Keywords: illness, hospitalization, early childhood, middle childhood, emotional development
    Number of Pages: 89
    Language of Content: Slovenian
    Mentor / Comentors:
    Mentor / ComentorsIDFunction
    doc. dr. Simona ProsenMentor
    Link to COBISS: https://plus.si.cobiss.net/opac7/bib/12224585
    Institution: University of Ljubljana
    Department: Faculty of Education
    Item ID: 5483
    Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2018 11:08
    Last Modified: 03 Dec 2018 11:08
    URI: http://pefprints.pef.uni-lj.si/id/eprint/5483

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