Objective: This study examined ethnic differences in end-of-life communication between Korean American and non-Hispanic White older adults using the Health Belief Model as a conceptual framework.
Method: A cross-sectional design was employed to survey 217 community-dwelling older adults (112 Korean Americans and 105 Non-Hispanic Whites).
Results: Half of the participants had never held end-of-life discussions with significant others. Non-Hispanic Whites were more likely to engage in end-of-life communication than Korean Americans, but the ethnicity effect was not evident in a multivariate analysis. Only participants' knowledge, perceived barriers, perceived severity, and experience of illness significantly predicted the likelihood of the end-of-life communication. Higher knowledge, stronger beliefs about the perceived severity and barriers, and greater experience of illness were related to having end-of-life communication.
Discussion: Knowledge and health beliefs play an important role in end-of-life communication which differs by ethnicity. Culturally competent health care practitioners need to consider ethnic variation in advance care planning.