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Stolz, E; Burkert, N; Großschädl, F; Rásky, É; Stronegger, WJ; Freidl, W.
Determinants of Public Attitudes towards Euthanasia in Adults and Physician-Assisted Death in Neonates in Austria: A National Survey.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(4):e0124320-e0124320 Doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0124320 [OPEN ACCESS]
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Führende Autor*innen der Med Uni Graz
Freidl Wolfgang
Stolz Erwin
Co-Autor*innen der Med Uni Graz
Burkert Nathalie
Großschädl Franziska
Rasky Eva
Stronegger Willibald

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Euthanasia remains a controversial topic in both public discourses and legislation. Although some determinants of acceptance of euthanasia and physician-assisted death have been identified in previous studies, there is still a shortage of information whether different forms of euthanasia are supported by the same or different sub-populations and whether authoritarian personality dispositions are linked to attitudes towards euthanasia. A large, representative face-to-face survey was conducted in Austria in 2014 (n = 1,971). Respondents faced three scenarios of euthanasia and one of physician assisted death differing regarding the level of specificity, voluntariness and subject, requiring either approval or rejection: (1) abstract description of euthanasia, (2) abstract description of physician-assisted suicide, (3) the case of euthanasia of a terminally-ill 79-year old cancer patient, and (4) the case of non-voluntary, physician assisted death of a severely disabled or ill neonate. A number of potential determinants for rejection ordered in three categories (socio-demographic, personal experience, orientations) including authoritarianism were tested via multiple logistic regression analyses. Rejection was highest in the case of the neonate (69%) and lowest for the case of the older cancer patient (35%). A consistent negative impact of religiosity on the acceptance across all scenarios and differential effects for socio-economic status, area of residence, religious confession, liberalism, and authoritarianism were found. Individuals with a stronger authoritarian personality disposition were more likely to reject physician-assisted suicide for adults but at the same time also more likely to approve of physician-assisted death of a disabled neonate. Euthanasia in adults was supported by a partially different sub-population than assisted death of disabled neonates.
Find related publications in this database (using NLM MeSH Indexing)
Adolescent -
Adult -
Aged -
Attitude to Death -
Attitude to Death -
Cross-Sectional Studies -
Euthanasia - psychology
Female -
Humans -
Interviews as Topic -
Male -
Middle Aged -
Multivariate Analysis -
Physicians - psychology
Public Opinion -
Suicide, Assisted -
Surveys and Questionnaires -
Young Adult -

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