Assessing right to die attitudes: a conceptually guided measurement model

J Soc Issues. 1996 Summer;52(2):63-84. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-4560.1996.tb01568.x.


This article discusses the current status of research regarding the assessment of attitudes toward euthanasia and other right to die constructs with a focus on conceptual and methodological issues hindering advancement in this area. Two models are presented: a conceptual model for differentiating the various right to die constructs, and a measurement model to guide scale development and refinement. The conceptual model defines the right to die constructs as a function of locus of decision and locus of action. Health status and age are hypothesized as important factors that in some instances are defining attributes in right to die constructs and in other instances are factors influencing people's attitudes toward the right to die. The measurement model considers the importance of construct specificity, individual characteristics, and conviction in the assessment of right to die attributes. An extant euthanasia attitude scale is presented and evaluated in terms of the models to demonstrate how they may be useful for advancing attitude research in this important area.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Attitude*
  • Behavioral Research
  • Empirical Research*
  • Euthanasia, Active / psychology*
  • Euthanasia, Active, Voluntary / psychology*
  • Euthanasia, Passive / psychology*
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Models, Psychological
  • Psychological Theory
  • Psychometrics*
  • Public Opinion*
  • Public Policy
  • Right to Die*
  • Suicide / psychology*
  • Suicide, Assisted / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • United States