Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - ECU Access Only


Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) Honours


School of Arts and Humanities

First Supervisor

Eyal Gringart

Second Supervisor

Claire Adams


Interest in voluntary assisted dying (VAD) has been growing among researchers, policy makers and the general public. Adding to the body of knowledge and to community discussion, the current study aimed to explore Western Australian older adults’ perspectives on VAD. Using purposive sampling, 15 adults over the age of 65 participated in in-depth semi-structured interviews. Interpretative phenomenological analysis identified four themes: cultural reflections, beliefs and worldviews, health aspects, and fabric of life. Participants expressed a desire to have control over end-of-life options, which was challenged by religious beliefs. Participants expressed concern that VAD legislation could leave people vulnerable to coercion and saw a need for safeguards. Physical and mental health aspects, as reasons for and against supporting and utilising VAD, were discussed. Physical illness was seen a more compelling reason for VAD than mental health issues. Finally, connections to life were discussed, connection to others, and being able to do the things one loved doing were named aspects of what it meant to live a good life and the difference between living and existing. The current study gives a voice to older adults on the topic of VAD. Implications of this study are discussed along with future research directions.


Thesis Location