The relationship between cognitive maturity and information about health problems among school age children

Lisa D. Lieberman, Noreen M. Clark, Karen V. Krone, Mario A. Orlandi, Ernst L. Wynder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study of urban, multi-ethnic children was undertaken to explore the relationships between age, cognitive developmental capability (termed 'cognitive maturity') and accuracy of information about health problems. A total of 299 children in the first, second and third grades from six public and one private school hi New York City were individually interviewed using an open-ended set of questions. Findings indicated that having accurate health information is not the same as comprehending the abstract internal nature of the 'facts'. Results supported Piaget's levels of cognitive development applied to the area of health. Findings also showed that age is a better predictor of children's accuracy about health information than their cognitive maturity. The findings underscore the need for those providing health education to place emphasis on the cognitive abilities of children and not to mistake recitation of factual information for understanding of conceptual elements of a health problem.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-401
Number of pages11
JournalHealth Education Research
Volume7
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Sep 1992

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