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J Palliat Med. 2003 Aug;6(4):575-84.

Validation of a new measure of concept of a good death.

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Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA, USA.



The concept of a good death is central to end-of-life care research. Despite its importance and the high interest in the topic, there are few measures currently available for use in clinical research.


The present work describes the development and testing of a set of items intended to measure the importance of several components posited to be critical to the concept of a good death. It is intended for use with health care providers and lay people in the context of end-of-life care research and education.


Four cohorts (n = 596) were recruited to participate, representing two helping profession disciplines, nonhelping professionals, and a range of ages, specifically: (1) undergraduate medical students; (2) master's degree students in nursing; (3) graduate students from the life sciences; and (4) practicing hospice nurses.


Participants completed self-report questionnaires at baseline and retest. Psychometric analyses included item frequency distributions, factor analysis, alpha reliability, intraclass correlation, and measures of association.


The new Concept of a Good Death measure demonstrated good item frequency distributions, acceptable internal consistency reliability, and test-retest stability. Its factor structure revealed that three distinct domains are measured, reflecting the psychosocial/spiritual, physical, and clinical aspects of a good death. An examination of patterns of correlations showed differential associations with death anxiety, spiritual beliefs and practices, anxious mood, and sociodemographic characteristics.


The new Concept of a Good Death instrument appears to measure three distinct factors which people consider important to a Good Death. Ratings of the importance of these factors are reliable and valid. The instrument has the advantage of being a brief, self-report index for use in end-of-life care research.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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