A systematic review of older adults’ request for or attitude toward euthanasia or assisted-suicide

Castelli Dransart, Dolores Angela (Haute école de travail social HETS Fribourg, HES-SO) ; Lapierre, Sylvie (Department of Psychology, Université du Québec à Trois Rivières, Canada) ; Erlangsen, Annette (Danish Research Institute for Suicide Prevention, Mental Health Centre, Copenhagen, Denmark) ; Canetto, Silvia Sara (Department of Psychology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, USA) ; Heisel, Marnin (Department of Psychiatry, Western University, Canada) ; Draper, Brian (School of Psychiatry, University of NSW, Sidney Australia, and Eastern Suburbs Older Person’s Mental Health Prince of Wales Hospital Randwick, Australia) ; Lindner, Reinhard (Institute of Social Work, University Kassel, Germany) ; Richard-Devantoy, Stephane (Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, and Douglas Mental Health University Institute, Montreal, Canada) ; Cheung, Gary (Department of Psychological Medecine, School of Medecine, University of Auckland, New Zealand) ; Scocco, Paolo (ULSS-6 Euganea and SOPROXI Onlus, Padova, Italy) ; Gusmao, Ricardo (Public Healh Institute, University of Porto, Portugal) ; De Leo, Diego (Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia) ; Inoue, Ken (Research and Education Faculty, Medical Sciences Cluster Health Service Center, Kochi University, Japan) ; De Techterman, Vincent (Haute école de travail social HETS Fribourg, HES-SO) ; Fiske, Amy (Department of Psychology, West Virginia University, USA) ; Hong, Jin Pyo (Department of Psychiatry, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Republic of Korea) ; Landry, Marjolaine (Department of Nursing, Universite du Quebec a Trois Rivieres, Canada) ; Lepage, Andrée-Anne (b Department of Psychology, Université du Québec à Trois Rivières, Canada) ; Marcoux, Isabelle (Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada) ; Jongho Na, Peter (Department of Psychiatry, New York University Langone Health, USA) ; Neufeld, Eva (Northern Ontario School of Medicine) ; Ummel, Deborah (Department of Psychoeducation, Universite de Sherbrooke, Montreal, Canada) ; Winslov, Jan-Henrik (Unit for Suicide Prevention, Aalborg University Hospital, Denmark) ; Wong, Christine (Caritas Singapore, Singapore) ; Wu, Jing (Department of Sociology and Work Science, University of Gothenburg, Sweden) ; Wyart, Marilyn (Unit of Geropsychiatry, Clinique Saint Antoine, Montarnaud, France)

Objectives: Prevalence rates of death by euthanasia (EUT) and physician-assisted suicide (PAS) have increased among older adults, and public debates on these practices are still taking place. In this context, it seemed important to conduct a systematic review of the predictors (demographic, physical health, psychological, social, quality of life, religious, or existential) associated with attitudes toward, wishes and requests for, as well as death by EUT/PAS among individuals aged 60 years and over. Method: The search for quantitative studies in PsycINFO and MEDLINE databases was conducted three times from February 2016 until April 2018. Articles of probable relevance (n ¼ 327) were assessed for eligibility. Studies that only presented descriptive data (n ¼ 306) were excluded. Results: This review identified 21 studies with predictive analyses, but in only 4 did older adults face actual end-of-life decisions. Most studies (17) investigated attitudes toward EUT/PAS (9 through hypothetical scenarios). Younger age, lower religiosity, higher education, and higher socioeconomic status were the most consistent predictors of endorsement of EUT/PAS. Findings were heterogeneous with regard to physical health, psychological, and social factors. Findings were difficult to compare across studies because of the variety of sample characteristics and outcomes measures. Conclusion: Future studies should adopt common and explicit definitions of EUT/PAS, as well as research designs (e.g. mixed longitudinal) that allow for better consideration of personal, social, and cultural factors, and their interplay, on EUT/PAS decisions.

Article Type:
Travail social
Travail social
Département de Recherche appliquée et développement de la HETS-FR
Travail social
11 p.
Published in:
Aging & Mental Health
Numeration (vol. no.):
2021, vol. 25, no. 3, 420-430
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Note: The status of this file is: restricted

 Record created 2020-09-22, last modified 2021-04-19

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