Chinese preschool children's understanding of death

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review


Children could internalise blame for a death, suffer as much grief as adults, and express as much emotion as adults. Research on young children's perceptions of death has been conducted primarily in Western cultures. This paper is an exploration of Chinese 5-year-olds' understanding of death. Data analyses are mainly based on children's drawings and their description of the drawings. Children's drawings of issues related to death were analysed using the phenomenographic method to identify content-specific categories. It is shown through this study that Chinese 5-year-olds have an initial understanding of the biological, psychological, and metaphysical concepts of death. Findings of the current study highlight the importance of paying more attention to the impact of cultural practices and religion on children's understanding of death. Copyright © 2019 TACTYC.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEarly Years
Early online dateOct 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Oct 2019


Wong, M. (2019). Chinese preschool children's understanding of death. Early Years. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/09575146.2019.1686466


  • Understanding of death
  • Early childhood
  • Chinese culture
  • Religion
  • Belief in the afterlife


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