Factors influencing individuals attitudes toward voluntary active euthanasia and physician assisted suicide Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/kp78gj706

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  • Issues of right to life, as well as death have surfaced as topics of hot debate. In particular, questions about when and if individuals have the right to end their own lives have emerged and gained considerable attention as health policy issues having the potential to affect all Americans.. The purpose of this study was to identify the factors that are most likely to influence an individual's decision to support or not support voluntary active euthanasia (VAE) and physician assisted suicide (PAS) in specific medical situations. This study also examined the differences in medical vignettes by various demographic and attitudinal factors. Data were collected from a sample of classified staff members at two institutions of higher learning in Oregon. A survey was used to collect all data. Paired sample T-tests, stepwise multiple regression analysis and repeated measures multiple analysis of variance (MANOVA) were used to analyze the data. Based on survey results, there were significant differences in attitudes toward PAS and VAE for each medical vignette. Religious beliefs, fear of dependency, and fear of death were the most powerful predictors of individual support for PAS in each medical situation. In the case of VAE, there were differences in support on each medical situation in terms of the most powerful predictors: fear of dependency and religious beliefs for the cancer vignette, fear of dependency, religious beliefs, and age for the ALS vignette, and religious beliefs and fear of dependency for the paralysis vignette. The repeated measures MANOVA revealed that in general, the older the individual was, the less likely they were to support PAS or VAE. However, women over age 66 in this study were more likely to support VAE than were the males age 66 and over. Males in the 51-65 year old category were more supportive of VAE than females in this age category. Also, those who were more fearful of death were more likely to have a higher level of support for VAE. In all three vignettes (Cancer, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and paralysis) for both PAS and VAE, there was a significantly different level of support measured on a seven point Likert scale.
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