Sociology of Death and Dying
1. Denial and Denial-like responses to Death.
One type of response that resembles denial in some way is Selective Attention. Selective Attention often happens with children, but sometimes with adults too. Selective Attention occurs when somebody directs their attention to whatever they see as most noticeable or important to them at that time. Selective Attention does not mean the individual is in denial, but that the individual tends to direct their attention elsewhere. During this process an individual tends to concentrate on a specific thing while ignoring other things. Selective attention is a cognitive process. For example, a young child could have a loved one in the hospital while they are paying attention to other objects around them because they are in a new environment. Selective response is another type of response that resembles denial. A person displaying this behavior may feel very strongly towards the subject of death but will hold back their feelings because they feel it is not the right time to express them. During Selective Response, an individual tends to change the subject and busy themselves with other tasks they need to accomplish so they can avoid the situation of death. Another type is Deception. Deception is intentionally giving false information to others. This is sometimes done to deliberately mislead someone so it will keep them calm and relaxed and also reduce their anxiety. For example, a person diagnosed with cancer can lie to their family to mislead them so they will not worry and think something is seriously wrong. Lastly, a type of response is Compartmentalizing. This is where an individual accepts and gets treatment for their diagnosis but they do not realize that it is life-threatening. Even though they know their health is in poor condition, they still continue to plan for their future. The individual has all of the information but stops themself from putting together the...
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