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Children’s understanding of mental illness: an exploratory study

Fox, C, Buchanan-Barrow, E and Barrett, MD (2008) Children’s understanding of mental illness: an exploratory study Child: Care, Health and Development, 34 (1). pp. 10-18.

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Background This study aimed to investigate children’s thinking about mental illness by employing a well-established framework of adult illness understanding. Methods The study adopted a semistructured interview technique and a card selection task to assess children’s responses to causes, consequences, timeline and curability of the different types of mental illness. The children were aged between 5 and 11 years. Results Results indicated a developmental trend in the children’s thinking about mental illness; there was an increase in the children’s understanding of the causes, consequences, curability and timeline of mental illness with age. The older children demonstrated a more sophisticated and accurate thinking about mental illness compared with the younger children, who tended to rely on a medical model in order to comprehend novel mental illnesses. Furthermore, the girls exhibited more compassion, showing greater social acceptance compared with the boys. Conclusions The Leventhal model provides a useful framework within which to investigate children’s knowledge and understanding of mental illness. Limitations of the study and implications for future research are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Psychology
Authors :
Fox, C
Buchanan-Barrow, E
Barrett, MD
Date : 2008
DOI : 10.1111/j.1365-2214.2007.00783.x
Related URLs :
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 14 Nov 2013 14:07
Last Modified : 09 Jun 2014 13:50

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