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Death Stud. 1996 Jan-Feb;20(1):73-82.

Barriers that predict resistance to completing a living will.

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Departments of Family Medicine and Neurology, College of Medicine, Ohio State University, Columbus, USA.


We sought to identify perceived barriers and benefits to completing living wills for 176 medical outpatients or their family members, using a questionnaire based on the Health Belief Model. The regression equation of the patient data identified two items that functioned as significant barriers: "I am not very interested in a living will because I believe that I will live a lot longer," and "Completing a living will now is difficult because I would likely change my mind about how I want to be managed during terminal illness." No variables remained in the equation when family member data were analyzed. We conclude that a major barrier to the completion of living wills (and perhaps advance directives generally) is that they connote personal death. Implications are explored.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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