A Longitudinal Study of Attitudes Toward Physician Assisted Suicide And Euthanasia Among Patients with Noncurable Malignancy

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This longitudinal study investigated whether attitudes toward physician-assisted suicide (PAS) and euthanasia (E) are stable among patients with noncurable malignancy, and whether depression and various coping strategies were related to such attitudes. Thirty patients with noncurable malignancies completed questionnaires measuring attitudes toward PAS and E, depression, and coping. Three months later, and subsequently at six-month intervals, repeated measures were obtained from 24 patients.

There was a trend for patients to become less supportive of legalizing PAS and E from the initial to last attitude measurement. Depression was unrelated to attitude change. There were significant changes on two coping dimensions: use of social support for emotional reasons and use of religious resources. Our findings should be considered in clinical, legislative, and ethical debates.



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