Title

Western Australian older adults’ perspectives on voluntary assisted dying: An in-depth qualitative investigation

Date of Award

2021

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) Honours

School

School of Arts and Humanities

First Advisor

Eyal Gringart

Second Advisor

Claire Adams

Abstract

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.

Access Note

Access to this thesis is embargoed until 23 July 2023. At the expiration of the embargo period, access to the thesis will be restricted to current ECU staff and students. Email queries to library@ecu.edu.au

Access to this thesis is restricted. Please see the Access Note below for access details.

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