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J Med Ethics. 1992 Jun;18(2):67-74.

Attitudes of a Mediterranean population to the truth-telling issue.

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University of Athens Medical School.


The attitudes of the Greeks, a Mediterranean population, to the issue of telling the truth to the patient have been studied. There is no clear answer to the question: 'Do the Greeks wish to be informed of the nature of their illness?'. The answer is: 'It depends'. It depends on age, education, family status, occupation, place of birth and residence and on whether or not they are religious people. However, it does not depend on their sex--men and women have similar reactions to the issue of truth-telling. Although the present study shows lower percentages of those who wish to know the truth than studies on other populations, the conclusion is that, emphasising the need for good communication between doctors and patients, doctors should not lie, but should disclose to their patients the part of the truth they are ready to accept.

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