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Prospective end-of-life decision-making: A study of Asian Indian Hindu younger and older adults

TitleProspective end-of-life decision-making: A study of Asian Indian Hindu younger and older adults
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsMohankumar, D
UniversityMohankumar, Deepthi: U Kansas, US
Accession NumberDissertation Abstract: 2009-99190-533
Keywords*Acculturation, *Age Differences, *Decision Making, *Hindus, *Socioeconomic Class Attitudes, Asians, Developmental Psychology [2800], end-of-life, decision making, Asian Indian Hindu adults, Human Adulthood (18 yrs & older), India
AbstractThis study examined the effects of age and culture on end-of-life decisions within the context of socioemotional selectivity theory. Younger ( N=100) and older (N=100) Asian Indian Hindus completed a questionnaire on their preferences for life-sustaining treatments and choice of decision-maker for two end-of-life scenarios, as well as scales assessing Western and Indian acculturation and Hindu end-of-life values. Ten participants from each age group were interviewed. Sequential logistic regression showed that the majority of participants, regardless of age, indicated that they would refuse life-sustaining treatments and engage in autonomous decision-making. These results are consistent with the emphasis on positive emotional experiences predicted by socioemotional selectivity theory. Although the interviews revealed that participants based their decisions on Hindu philosophy, the acculturation and Hindu values scales did not capture that relationship. The participants drew a distinction between Hindu philosophy and Hindu end-of-life rituals, as well as between religion and health related decision-making. Supplemental data were collected from a sample of younger (N=64) and older (N=59) non-Hispanic Whites to further investigate the effects of culture. Results revealed that Asian Indians were less likely to choose life-sustaining treatments than non-Hispanic Whites. However, most non-Hispanic White participants also refused life-sustaining treatment and endorsed autonomy in decision-making. The discussion focuses on the implications of these findings for understanding the roles of socioemotional selectivity, age, and culture in end-of-life decision-making. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved).