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Psychosomatics. 1997 May-Jun;38(3):277-87.

Determinants of the willingness to endorse assisted suicide. A survey of physicians, nurses, and social workers.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10021, USA.


The authors surveyed 1,137 physicians, nurses, and social workers (overall response = 48%) to characterize the willingness to endorse assisted suicide. Willingness to endorse varied among disciplines and was negatively correlated with level of religious belief (r = -0.35, P < 0.0001), knowledge of symptom management (r = -0.21, P < 0.0001), and time managing symptoms (r = -0.21, P < 0.0001). On multivariate analysis, the significant predictors were lesser religious belief (P < 0.0001), greater concern about analgesic toxicity (P = 0.001), diminished empathy (P = 0.03), lesser knowledge of symptom management (P < 0.04), and the interaction between religious belief and knowledge of symptom management (P = 0.04). Professionals' attitudes toward assisted suicide are influenced by diverse personal attributes, among which may be competence in symptom management and burnout.

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