Primary care physician attitudes and values toward end-of-life care and physician-assisted death

Ethics Behav. 1999;9(3):219-30. doi: 10.1207/s15327019eb0903_3.


This study explores how primary care physician attitudes toward physician-assisted death (PAD) are related to their personal values toward end-of-life care and PAD. A group of 810 Michigan family physicians, internists, and general practitioners, divided into 4 typology groups by their intention toward participating in PAD, rated their attitudes toward PAD, along with their values and preferences for their own end-of-life care. Respondents who most objected to PAD were less likely to have executed an advance directive and more likely to have values promoting continued life-sustaining treatment in their own terminal care. Furthermore, a significant number of physicians, who had strong values against their own withdrawal of treatment in terminal care, were opposed to the withdrawing or withholding of life-sustaining treatment in patient care. Considerations of personal physician values are relevant in the discussion of PAD and the withdrawal of treatment in terminal care.

MeSH terms

  • Advance Directives
  • Attitude*
  • Data Collection
  • Euthanasia*
  • Euthanasia, Active*
  • Euthanasia, Passive*
  • Family Practice
  • Humans
  • Internal Medicine
  • Michigan
  • Physicians*
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Social Values*
  • Suicide, Assisted*