Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name




First Advisor

Towson, Shelagh,


Psychology, Social.




The purpose of the current research was to contribute to the debate on assisted suicide by describing: (1) circumstances under which assisted suicide is regarded as an acceptable option, and (2) personal characteristics that mediate acceptance of assisted suicide. Participants rated scenarios constructed in a factorial design based on the presence (versus absence) of the following factors: terminal illness, physical incapacitation, severe pain, mental incapacitation, and an expressed wish to die. Contrary to the proposed hypotheses, each of these variables alone increased the acceptance of assisted suicide, regardless of whether or not a wish to die had been expressed. Further, in most cases, the effects of these variables were additive. Participants also completed measures of religious orientation, death anxiety, life ownership orientation, and attitudes toward related issues. Favourable attitudes toward abortion and capital punishment were found to be the best predictors of favourable attitudes toward assisted suicide. Contrary to hypotheses, no other measure significantly predicted acceptability. Policy implications of these findings are discussed.Dept. of Psychology. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis1995 .V56. Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 34-06, page: 2498. Adviser: Shelagh Towson. Thesis (M.A.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1995.