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0-5 years old

- doesn't understand death
- separation forms basis for later understanding
- believes death is reversible, temporary or sleep
- emphasizes immobility & inactivity as attributes

5-9 years old

- understands that death is final
- believes own death can be avoided
- associated death w/aggression or violence
- believes wishes or unrelated actions can cause death

9-12 years old

- begins to understand death is inevitable
- begins to understand own mortality

12-18 years old

- fears a lingering death
- may fantasize that death can be defied, acts out
- seldom thinks about death, but views it in religious & philosophical terms
- may try to reach adult understanding, but can't emotionally
- may still hold onto prior beliefs

18-45 years old

- has attitude towards death influenced by religious & cultural beliefs

45-65 years old

- accepts own mortality
- encounters death of parents & some peers
- experiences peaks of death anxiety
- death anxiety diminishes w/emotional well being

65+ years

- fears prolonged illness
- encounters death of family members & peers

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