Background: Current, ongoing national surveys do not include questions about end-of-life (EOL) issues. In particular, population-based data are lacking regarding the factors associated with advance directive completion.
Purpose: To characterize U.S. adults who did and did not have an advance directive and examine factors associated with their completion, such as the presence of a chronic condition and regular source of health care.
Methods: Data were analyzed in 2013 from adults aged 18 years and older who participated in the 2009 or 2010 HealthStyles Survey, a mail panel survey designed to be representative of the U.S. population. Likelihood ratio tests were used to examine the associations between advance directive completion and demographic and socioeconomic variables (education, income, employment status); presence of a chronic condition; regular source of health care; and self-reported EOL concerns or discussions. Multiple logistic regression analyses identified independent predictors related to advance directive completion.
Results: Of the 7946 respondents, 26.3% had an advance directive. The most frequently reported reason for not having one was lack of awareness. Advance directive completion was associated with older age, more education, and higher income and was less frequent among non-white respondents. Respondents with advance directives also were more likely to report having a chronic disease and a regular source of care. Advance directives were less frequent among those who reported not knowing if they had an EOL concern.
Conclusions: These data indicate racial and educational disparities in advance directive completion and highlight the need for education about their role in facilitating EOL decisions.
Published by American Journal of Preventive Medicine on behalf of American Journal of Preventive Medicine.