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Surveys on attitudes towards legalisation of euthanasia: importance of question phrasing

Hagelin, J; Nilstun, Tore LU ; Hau, J and Carlsson, HE (2004) In Journal of Medical Ethics 30(6). p.521-523
Abstract
Aim: To explore whether the phrasing of the questions and the response alternatives would influence the answers to questions about legalisation of euthanasia. Methods: Results were compared from two different surveys in populations with similar characteristics. The alternatives "positive'', "negative'', and "don't know'' (first questionnaire) were replaced with an explanatory text, "no legal sanction'', four types of legal sanctions, and no possibility to answer "don't know'' (second questionnaire). Four undergraduate student groups (engineering, law, medicine, and nursing) answered. Results: In the first questionnaire (n = 684) 43% accepted euthanasia (range 28-50%), 14% (8-33%) did not, and 43% (39-59%) answered "don't know''. Two per... (More)
Aim: To explore whether the phrasing of the questions and the response alternatives would influence the answers to questions about legalisation of euthanasia. Methods: Results were compared from two different surveys in populations with similar characteristics. The alternatives "positive'', "negative'', and "don't know'' (first questionnaire) were replaced with an explanatory text, "no legal sanction'', four types of legal sanctions, and no possibility to answer "don't know'' (second questionnaire). Four undergraduate student groups (engineering, law, medicine, and nursing) answered. Results: In the first questionnaire (n = 684) 43% accepted euthanasia (range 28-50%), 14% (8-33%) did not, and 43% (39-59%) answered "don't know''. Two per cent of the respondents declined to answer. In comparison with previous surveys on attitudes to euthanasia the proportion of "don't know'' was large. The results of the second questionnaire (n = 639), showed that 38% favoured "no legal prosecution'' (26-50%). However, 62% (50-74%) opted for different kinds of legal sanctions, and two of four groups expressed significantly different views in the two surveys. A proportion of 10% declined to answer the second questionnaire. Conclusion: An introduction of an explanatory text and a wider range of response alternatives produced differences between the results of the two surveys conducted. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Journal of Medical Ethics
volume
30
issue
6
pages
521 - 523
publisher
BMJ Publishing Group
external identifiers
  • pmid:15574435
  • wos:000225426400003
  • scopus:11144251644
ISSN
1473-4257
DOI
10.1136/jme.2002.002543
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
23c18a2b-7f77-4cb5-9e0b-d26b0368add8 (old id 259841)
date added to LUP
2007-10-29 10:33:09
date last changed
2017-09-03 04:28:45
@article{23c18a2b-7f77-4cb5-9e0b-d26b0368add8,
  abstract     = {Aim: To explore whether the phrasing of the questions and the response alternatives would influence the answers to questions about legalisation of euthanasia. Methods: Results were compared from two different surveys in populations with similar characteristics. The alternatives "positive'', "negative'', and "don't know'' (first questionnaire) were replaced with an explanatory text, "no legal sanction'', four types of legal sanctions, and no possibility to answer "don't know'' (second questionnaire). Four undergraduate student groups (engineering, law, medicine, and nursing) answered. Results: In the first questionnaire (n = 684) 43% accepted euthanasia (range 28-50%), 14% (8-33%) did not, and 43% (39-59%) answered "don't know''. Two per cent of the respondents declined to answer. In comparison with previous surveys on attitudes to euthanasia the proportion of "don't know'' was large. The results of the second questionnaire (n = 639), showed that 38% favoured "no legal prosecution'' (26-50%). However, 62% (50-74%) opted for different kinds of legal sanctions, and two of four groups expressed significantly different views in the two surveys. A proportion of 10% declined to answer the second questionnaire. Conclusion: An introduction of an explanatory text and a wider range of response alternatives produced differences between the results of the two surveys conducted.},
  author       = {Hagelin, J and Nilstun, Tore and Hau, J and Carlsson, HE},
  issn         = {1473-4257},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {6},
  pages        = {521--523},
  publisher    = {BMJ Publishing Group},
  series       = {Journal of Medical Ethics},
  title        = {Surveys on attitudes towards legalisation of euthanasia: importance of question phrasing},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jme.2002.002543},
  volume       = {30},
  year         = {2004},
}