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Table 2 Psychiatrists’ attitudes toward euthanasia in general and in psychiatry

From: Belgian psychiatrists’ attitudes towards, and readiness to engage in, euthanasia assessment procedures with adults with psychiatric conditions: a survey

Attitude statements Response in N/%a Combined percentages
Totally disagree Disagree Neutral Agree Totally agree Agree + Totally agree
St1: Euthanasia should only be legally allowed for the terminally ill. 40
21.7%
70
38.0%
19
10.3%
32
17.4%
23
12.5%
55
29.9%
St2: Euthanasia should be legally allowed for the non-terminally ill, but only when based on somatic illnesses. 53
28.8%
91
49.5%
20
10.9%
13
7.1%
7
3.8%
20
10.9%
St3: Euthanasia should remain legally allowed for patients with psychiatric illnesses. 17
9.2%
19
10.3%
11
6.0%
68
37.0%
69
37.5%
137
74.5%
St4: A psychiatric patient can suffer unbearably. 2
1.1%
1
0.5%
7
3.8%
37
20.1%
137
74.5%
174
94.6%
St5: A psychiatric patient’s death request can be well considered, and not only considered as a symptom of the patient’s psychopathology. 4
2.2%
8
4.3%
10
5.4%
92
50.0%
70
38.0%
162
88%
St6: A psychiatric patient can find herself in a medically hopeless situation. 5
2.7%
9
4.9%
16
8.7%
67
36.4%
87
47.3%
154
83.7%
St7: For a psychiatric patient, a lack of reasonable treatment perspectives can exist. 2
1.1%
23
12.5%
17
9.2%
76
41.3%
66
35.9%
142
77.2%
St8: Euthanasia assessment in psychiatric patients is compatible with a psychotherapeutic relationship. 26
14.1%
31
16.8%
30
16.3%
60
32.6%
37
20.1%
97
52.7%
St9: During the assessment of a psychiatric patient’s euthanasia request, potentially effective therapeutic treatment options should be taken into account. 7
3.8%
34
18.5%
36
19.6%
74
40.2%
33
17.9%
107
58.1%
St10: During the assessment of a psychiatric patient’s euthanasia request, the focus should not only be placed on the patient’s medical condition, but also on the patient’s whole life context. 6
3.3%
10
5.4%
19
10.3%
77
41.8%
72
39.1%
149
80.9%
St11: Euthanasia is an acceptable alternative to prevent for suicide.b 35
19.1%
33
18.0%
35
19.1%
64
35.0%
16
8.7%
80
43.7%
St12: In psychiatric patients, physician-assisted suicide (physician provides the lethal drugs to the patient who then self-administers it) is more acceptable than euthanasia (physician administers the lethal drugs to the patient). 36
19.6%
41
22.3%
49
26.6%
46
25.0%
12
6.5%
58
31.5%
St13: In some cases, there is mention of psychiatric euthanasia assessment that was too lightly dealth with.c 2
1.1%
16
8.7%
39
21.3%
66
36.1%
60
32.8%
126
68.9%
  1. a Range Likert scale: from 1 “totally disagree” to 5 “totally agree”. For all items: Minimum score = 1 and maximum score = 5
  2. b Missings: n = 2 (St11 and St13: n = 1, missings from 2 different psychiatrists)