Barriers that predict resistance to completing a living will

Death Stud. Jan-Feb 1996;20(1):73-82. doi: 10.1080/07481189608253412.


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.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude to Death*
  • Family
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Living Wills*
  • Male
  • Patients
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Uncertainty