Breaking News
April 19, 2018 - Detecting diminished dopamine-firing cells inside brain could reveal earliest signs of Alzheimer’s
April 19, 2018 - Case study shows how intravascular ultrasound imaging helps detect acute aortic syndrome
April 19, 2018 - Research reveals new mechanism by which HIV evades the immune system
April 19, 2018 - Nanodisc-delivered cancer treatment helps eliminate tumors
April 19, 2018 - Functional connectivity MRI could help detect brain disorders and diseases
April 19, 2018 - Finding better way to quantify neuropathy symptoms and treatment efficacy
April 19, 2018 - Study examines effectiveness of caregiver education about sickle cell trait
April 19, 2018 - High-resolution images of tumor vasculature using new technology
April 19, 2018 - Lack of sleep may be linked to risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease
April 19, 2018 - Study finds neurotransmitter may play a role in alcohol relapse, addiction
April 19, 2018 - Researchers build molecular networks of calcific aortic valve disease
April 19, 2018 - Researchers develop highly specific apoptosis assay for pharmacodynamic analyses of tumor specimens
April 19, 2018 - Scientists decipher mechanism of chemotherapy induced female infertility
April 19, 2018 - New insight may allow researchers to design drugs that improve immune responses to vaccines
April 19, 2018 - FDA Approves Crysvita (burosumab-twza) for X-Linked Hypophosphatemia
April 19, 2018 - Researchers uncover origin of virus-fighting plasma B cells
April 19, 2018 - Study finds no evidence of lower intelligence in young children who had anesthesia
April 19, 2018 - Baboons break out of research facility briefly
April 19, 2018 - Study shows how deployment time increases risk of suicide attempt in soldiers
April 19, 2018 - Specific odors from malaria infected individuals attract more mosquitoes
April 19, 2018 - FDA Alert: Rhino 69 Extreme 50000 by AMA Wholesale: Recall
April 19, 2018 - Top HIV cure research team refutes major recent results on how to identify HIV persistence
April 19, 2018 - Experts propose new solutions to increase benefit, affordability of targeted cancer medicines
April 19, 2018 - Deficiency of innate immune adaptor TRIF shortens survival time of ALS mice
April 19, 2018 - New machine learning method offers better way to detect heart disease
April 19, 2018 - CNIO researchers determine structure of protein complex related to cell survival
April 19, 2018 - Faith-based diabetes support program launched by UTSA research team
April 19, 2018 - Volumetric Laser Endomicroscopy Helps ID Barrett’s Regions
April 19, 2018 - Engineered cartilage template to heal broken bones
April 19, 2018 - New computational framework accurately predicts drug-drug and drug-food interactions
April 18, 2018 - Some human cancers may be result of evolutionary accidents, research finds
April 18, 2018 - Higher levels of education linked to lower dementia risk in older African Americans
April 18, 2018 - Smoking Puts Blacks at Higher Risk for Heart Failure
April 18, 2018 - Physiotherapist contributes to guidelines for knee cartilage treatment
April 18, 2018 - Researchers use ‘top-down proteomics’ strategy to get new insights into cancer
April 18, 2018 - Physician assistants less likely to accurately diagnose early stage skin cancers
April 18, 2018 - New faster, streamlined method for bowel cancer detection and treatment
April 18, 2018 - Researchers identify new Listeria species in Costa Rica
April 18, 2018 - Novel interactive diagram shows many facets of mild traumatic brain injury
April 18, 2018 - Short sleep linked to obesity in children and adolescents
April 18, 2018 - When weight loss helps with sleep
April 18, 2018 - New mathematical model can predict efficiency of microbiome therapies
April 18, 2018 - People with high LDL cholesterol levels likely to get greater benefits from statins
April 18, 2018 - Listening to music enhances effect of anti-hypertensive drugs
April 18, 2018 - New method could help treat severe epilepsy in the future
April 18, 2018 - Study reveals increased risks for Alzheimer’s, suicide among youth in polluted cities
April 18, 2018 - Obese patients more likely to develop rapid and irregular heart rate
April 18, 2018 - Study may change global guidelines for managing children with uncomplicated fever
April 18, 2018 - Researchers find letter we’ve seen millions of times, yet can’t write
April 18, 2018 - Roswell Park researchers identify driver of cancer-promoting metabolic changes
April 18, 2018 - Study shows connection between early life stress, depression and sleep disturbances
April 18, 2018 - New tool developed to protect women from HIV infection
April 18, 2018 - Tradeshow Talks with HealthSapiens
April 18, 2018 - NYC mice carry deadly bacteria and viruses
April 18, 2018 - FDA Approves Tavalisse (fostamatinib disodium hexahydrate) for Chronic Immune Thrombocytopenia
April 18, 2018 - Doctors curbing first-time prescriptions for opioids
April 18, 2018 - Scientists analyze nanostructure of chicken eggshells
April 18, 2018 - Study finds muscle complications among active young adults with Type 1 diabetes
April 18, 2018 - Young children should be priority for snail fever treatment
April 18, 2018 - One class of diabetes drug not associated with reduced risk of death
April 18, 2018 - Breakthrough microscope revolutionizes live cell imaging of stem cells
April 18, 2018 - Study on arthritis prevalence and trends reveals unexpected findings
April 18, 2018 - Low-Vision Rehab Improves Several Elements of Visual Function
April 18, 2018 - Babies who look like their father at birth are healthier one year later: study
April 18, 2018 - New drug for migraine in the pipeline
April 18, 2018 - Precancerous colon polyps in Lynch syndrome patients display immune activation
April 18, 2018 - Mouse study shows how tungsten accumulates in the bones
April 18, 2018 - Scientists provide insight into how gene associated with autoimmunity contributes to disease
April 18, 2018 - AHA: Rx for Sedentary Kids — Friends and the Great Outdoors
April 18, 2018 - Expert panel reliable and accurate in identifying injuries in young children
April 18, 2018 - Two immune checkpoint inhibitors efficiently block leukemia development in preclinical tests
April 18, 2018 - New automated text messaging service may help combat opioid epidemic
April 18, 2018 - Large ALS-causing protein aggregates protect rather than harm neurons
April 18, 2018 - Older adults in high-quality nursing homes have lower risks for placement in long-term care facilities
April 18, 2018 - Targeting opioid receptor offers relief for chronic itching
April 18, 2018 - PBO long-lasting insecticidal nets found to be effective in reducing malaria prevalence
April 18, 2018 - New study maps links between 625 genes and different chemotherapy treatments
April 18, 2018 - Obesity rates keep rising for U.S. adults
April 18, 2018 - Bacterial ‘gene swapping’ affects emergence and spread of infectious diseases
April 18, 2018 - NSAIDs alone or with acetaminophen better than opioids at easing dental pain
Disney and Pixar films present opportunities for parents to discuss end-of-life with children

Disney and Pixar films present opportunities for parents to discuss end-of-life with children

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print
Disney and Pixar films present opportunities for parents to discuss end-of-life with children
Credit: University at Buffalo

Bambi’s mother, Mufasa from “The Lion King” and Elsa’s and Anna’s parents in “Frozen” represent some of the characters who die in Disney and Pixar animated films, and these potentially shocking moments for young audiences provide critical opportunities for adults to discuss end-of-life issues with children, according to a new study by a University at Buffalo researcher who specializes in end-of-life communication.

“These films can be used as conversation starters for difficult and what are oftentimes taboo topics like death and dying,” says Kelly Tenzek, a clinical assistant professor in UB’s Department of Communication. “These are important conversations to have with children, but waiting until the end of life is way too late and can lead to a poor end-of-life experience.”

Starting the end-of-life conversation with children early allows the dialogue to continue and develop throughout their lives, and the deaths in these film can actually help children relate to and understand death in ways that otherwise might be very challenging for them.

“We believe that Disney and Pixar films are popular and accessible for children and adults so that a difficult conversation can begin in a less threatening way earlier in life,” says Tenzek.

Tenzek and co-author Bonnie Nickels, a visiting lecturer at the Rochester Institute of Technology, analyzed 57 Disney and Pixar movies in which 71 character deaths occurred. Four themes emerged from their analysis, each of which can serve as a platform for adults to discuss end-of-life issues with children.

The results of their research appear in Omega-Journal of Death and Dying.

Tenzek says the current study uses categories from research conducted in 2005 on end-of-life depictions in 10 Disney and Pixar films. That earlier research distinguished character’s status, such as antagonist or protagonist (Tenzek and Nickels added side characters to this category); cause of death; whether the death was presented on film or implied; the reactions of other characters; and if the death, within the context of the film’s plot, was permanent or a reversible, fantasy occurrence.

With that template and their expanded list of 57 films, the new analysis yielded four general opportunities, or themes, on which to base an end-of-life discussion:

“First, some of the portrayals of death are unrealistic, such as when the character returns or returns in an altered form,” says Tenzek. “But this is a chance for a child to better understand the difference between fiction and real life.”

Tenzek says managing the end of life, or the emotional response to death, could be helpful for children and adults.

“How the characters portray their responses to dying can help children understand the nature of expressing emotion,” she says. “‘Big Hero 6’ (2014) and ‘Inside Out’ (2015) specifically address emotional responses to death and dying which were not present in earlier films.”

The third and fourth themes dealing with intentions to kill and transformation and spiritual connection, with its moral sub-theme, are more complex. Religious and spiritual content are not always overly present in Disney and Pixar films, however, Tenzek says, the films can still serves as opportunities to discuss religious beliefs and end of life.

“We acknowledge that a child’s psychological development is important when considering these discussions,” says Tenzek. “It’s not our intent to have these conversations with a 3-year-old, but as children mature, then the films fit naturally into that growth.”

Many of the possible benefits arising from these films extends from parents’ power to engage children, according to Tenzek. The films can be a tool to help explain the difficult end-of-life process to children and help them make connections that lead to better understanding.

“I teach end-of-life communication,” says Tenzek. “My goal is to educate and help people become more comfortable with the end of life.

“One way to do that is through these films,” she says.


Explore further:
Kids’ cartoon characters twice as likely to die as counterparts in films for adults

Provided by:
University at Buffalo

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles