This research was presented in part at the 104th annual convention of the American Psychological Association, Chicago, IL, August 1997. The authors thank Jessica Cameron, Richard Denzel, Larry Wong, and Shari Gordon for their assistance in collecting and coding the data. Heather Coon and Shannon Curtis provided helpful comments on earlier versions of this article.
Individualism and Authoritarianism Shape Attitudes Toward Physician-Assisted Suicide1
Version of Record online: 31 JUL 2006
Journal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume 29, Issue 12, pages 2613–2631, December 1999
How to Cite
Kemmelmeier, M., Burnstein, E. and Peng, K. (1999), Individualism and Authoritarianism Shape Attitudes Toward Physician-Assisted Suicide. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 29: 2613–2631. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.1999.tb00128.x
- Issue online: 31 JUL 2006
- Version of Record online: 31 JUL 2006
We investigated the relation between value orientations and attitudes toward physician-assisted suicide (PAS) in 267 United States college students. We predicted that individualistic values, especially those having to do with control and self-determination, would lead to favorable attitudes toward PAS, and authoritarianism would lead to a rejection of PAS. A positive association between individualism and approval of PAS emerged which was moderated by attitude importance: People who did not endorse individualistic values did not have favorable opinions of PAS, regardless of how important the issue was to them. However, for individualists, PAS attitudes and attitude importance were positively related. Independent of individualism, authoritarianism was negatively related to PAS attitudes. Primarily for low authoritarianism, we found a correlation between attitude and attitude importance. The discussion focuses on the value-expressive function of death-related attitudes.