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Attitudes of elderly persons regarding right-to-die issues

1 May 1991


Sixty-three elderly from retirement communities and private homes were surveyed on the right-to-die issues of active and passive euthanasia, suicide, and living wills. Attitudes about passive euthanasia by the elderly in the sample appear to be more conservative than the general population. Attitudes about active euthanasia appear to be positively affected by increased education and by being raised in the Northwest. Attitudes about suicide were not correlated to the at-risk variables of suicide prediction scales. The variables examined were found to be poor predictors of attitude. Living wills were not related to a person's living residence. Those elderly who chose to be interviewed were older, more likely widowed, lived in a senior community, rated health as good not excellent, had slightly less emotional support, were less educated, somewhat less religious, and were more conservative than those who filled out the surveys on their own.


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