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Children's understanding of illness: The generalization of illness according to exemplar

Buchanan-Barrow, E, Barrett, M and Bati, M (2003) Children's understanding of illness: The generalization of illness according to exemplar Journal of Health Psychology, 8 (6). 659 - 670.


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Using children's naive theory of biology as a framework, this study examined children's illness conceptions. Children (aged 4-11), presented with one of four exemplars (child, dog, duck or rosebush) suffering an imaginary illness, were asked whether various entities from six categories, biological and non-biological, could also be afflicted. The children's illness generalizations differentiated between all of the categories; they not only distinguished between living and non-living things, but also recognized biological subkinds. Furthermore, the children's generalizations were significantly greater to the category of exemplar, indicating that human prototypicality is not the sole basis for children's generalizations. It is concluded that children's understanding of illness is mediated by a naive biological theory that facilitates their systematic predictions of susceptibility to illness.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences > Psychology
Authors :
Buchanan-Barrow, EUNSPECIFIED
Date : 2003
Uncontrolled Keywords : biology; children; illness; naive theory knowledge; kinds
Depositing User : Mr Adam Field
Date Deposited : 27 May 2010 14:43
Last Modified : 09 Jun 2014 13:27

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