January 1965

Child's Understanding of Health

Author Affiliations

Medical Research Scientist, Department of Clinical Research, Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute, and Research Fellow, Department of Psychiatry, Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1965;12(1):10-17. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1965.01720310012002

Introduction  The health concepts of the child depend upon the organization and interpretation he gives to his perceptions of his body, to the responses of others to his body, and to the effects of the environment upon his wellbeing. Since we regard good health as the normal and desirable state of the child, we ordinarily assign less significance to his ideas about health than to his other conceptions. Yet these ideas are important, as are all biologic concepts of the child, to personality development,8 and study of the child's thinking about health may further our understanding of his awareness and appraisal of his body normally and when physically ill. The particular influence of the meaning of health for the child upon his reactions to illness has been noted by Fries,5 Senn,22 and Langford.12,13From early childhood, learning about health is an

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