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Physician-assisted suicide attitudes of older Mexican-American and non-Hispanic white adults: does ethnicity make a difference?

TitlePhysician-assisted suicide attitudes of older Mexican-American and non-Hispanic white adults: does ethnicity make a difference?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsEspino, DV, Macias, RL, Wood, RC, Becho, J, Talamantes, M, Finley, MR, Hernandez, AE, Martinez, R
JournalJ Am Geriatr SocJ Am Geriatr Soc
Volume58
Pagination1370-5
Date PublishedJul
ISBN Number1532-5415 (Electronic)<br/>0002-8614 (Linking)
Accession Number20533972
KeywordsAge Factors, Aged, Aged, 80 and Over, Attitude/ ethnology, European Continental Ancestry Group/ psychology, Female, Health Status, Humans, Male, Mexican Americans/ psychology, Middle Aged, Religion, Sex Factors, Socioeconomic Factors, Suicide, Assisted/ ethnology, Texas
AbstractLittle is known about attitudes toward physician-assisted suicide (PAS) in various ethnic groups. This study compares attitudes held by older Mexican Americans and non-Hispanic whites and examines subject characteristics that may influence their responses. A convenience sample of 100 older Mexican Americans and 108 non-Hispanic whites (n=208) aged 60 to 89 were recruited from four primary care community-based practice sites in San Antonio, Texas. Interview items measured attitudes toward PAS, cognitive status, functional status, and religiosity. Older Mexican Americans (52.7%) reported stronger agreement than non-Hispanic whites (33.7%) with PAS. Male sex (odds ratio (OR)=2.62, 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.09-6.35) predicted agreement with legalization in Mexican Americans, whereas lower religiosity scores (OR=0.84, 95% CI=0.75-0.94) were predictive of agreement in older non-Hispanic whites. This study is the first to find positive attitudes among community-dwelling older Mexican Americans toward PAS that are higher than those of older non-Hispanic white adults. Sex and religious views were important determinants of positive attitudes toward PAS. Larger, more-generalizable studies should be conducted to confirm the attitudinal patterns that have been identified in this study.