Conceptions of death and suicide in children ages 6-12 and their implications for suicide prevention

Suicide Life Threat Behav. 1999 Summer;29(2):105-18.


Interviews were conducted with 65 public school children in Grades 1-5 concerning their understanding of and experiences with death and suicide, and investigating the development of the Piagetian concepts of life and age. By third grade, children have an elaborate understanding of suicide, and younger children generally understand "killing oneself," although their understanding of death and living may be immature. Children learn about suicide from television and discussions with other children, but they rarely discuss suicide with adults. The level of development of the concept of suicide is related to maturity rather than specific experiences. Implications for primary prevention are discussed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Death*
  • Child
  • Child Behavior / psychology
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Psychological Theory
  • Psychology, Child
  • Suicide Prevention*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires