[Medical students' attitudes towards legalisation of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide]

Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2013 Nov 26;133(22):2359-63. doi: 10.4045/tidsskr.13.0439.
[Article in Norwegian]


Background: We wished to investigate prevailing attitudes among future doctors regarding legalisation of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. This issue is important, since any legalisation of these practices would confer a completely new role on doctors.

Material and method: Attitudes were identified with the aid of a questionnaire-based survey among medical students in their 5th and 6th year of study in the four Norwegian medical schools.

Results: Altogether 531 students responded (59.5% of all students in these cohorts). Of these, 102 (19%) were of the opinion that euthanasia should be legalised in the case of terminal illness, 164 (31%) responded that physician-assisted suicide should be permitted for this indication, while 145 (28%) did not know. A minority of the respondents would permit euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide in other situations. Women and those who reported that religion was important to them were less positive than men to permitting euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide.

Interpretation: In most of the situations described, the majority of the students in this survey rejected legalisation. Opinions are more divided in the case of terminal illness, since a larger proportion is in favour of legalisation and more respondents are undecided.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Attitude to Death
  • Attitude to Health
  • Euthanasia* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Euthanasia* / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Religion and Medicine
  • Sex Factors
  • Students, Medical / psychology*
  • Suicide, Assisted* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Suicide, Assisted* / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires