Racial differences in attitudes toward Euthanasia

Academic Article


  • This article examines racial differences in attitudes toward euthanasia. Many researchers assert distrust of medicine as a substantive explanation for less favorable attitudes toward euthanasia among African Americans, although quantitative measurement has been unsuccessful in showing this. In this article, spiritual meaning, perceived capacity for discrimination (distrust), individual experiences with physicians, and access to healthcare are hypothesized as intervening variables in the relationship between race and attitudes toward euthanasia. With a distinction between individual and collective experiences with discrimination we use path analysis to test previous assertions that African American distrust of medicine leads to more negative attitudes toward euthanasia. Results indicate that while African Americans exhibit higher levels of distrust of medicine, this is not related to attitudes toward euthanasia, which seem predominantly to be a spiritual matter. Our findings have implications for legislative policy, treatment interventions, doctor-patient relations, and sociological understanding of the interaction of race, spirituality, experience, and attitudes. © 2006, Baywood Publishing Co., Inc.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 23341618
  • Author List

  • Wasserman J; Clair JM; Ritchey FJ
  • Start Page

  • 263
  • End Page

  • 287
  • Volume

  • 52
  • Issue

  • 3