The concept of death in 4 to 5 year old Hong Kong Chinese children

Mun Amanda WONG, Thomas G. POWER

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Research shows that young children’s understanding of death varies considerably by culture. The purpose of this study was to examine the concepts of death held by Chinese kindergarten children in Hong Kong. Eighty-three 4- to 5-year-olds were interviewed about their understanding of six death sub-concepts: inevitability, universality, irreversibility, biological cessation, psychological cessation and causality. Parents of 67 children completed questionnaires, providing demographic information and describing how they had spoken with their child about death. Results showed that most children understood inevitability and irreversibility and that an intermediate number understood universality and biological/psychological cessation. Understanding of causality was the most limited. Parental education and family size were positively associated with children’s understanding of death, as were the experiences of losing a pet or a grandparent. Finally, children of parents who talked with them about afterlife showed the most advanced level of understanding in several areas. Implications for studies on young children’s death concepts are discussed. Copyright © 2022 TACTYC.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEarly Years
Early online date22 Jul 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Jul 2022


Wong, M., & Power, T. G. (2022). The concept of death in 4 to 5 year old Hong Kong Chinese children. Early Years. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/09575146.2022.2097201


  • Understanding of death
  • Death concepts
  • Culture
  • Parental explanations
  • Early childhood


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