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The Diverse Influence of Religion and World View on Palliative-Care Nurses’ Attitudes towards Euthanasia

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Studies assessing the influence of religion and world view on palliative-care nurses’ attitudes towards euthanasia, have reached diverging conclusions. We decided to use data from a qualitative study undertaken among palliative-care nurses in Flanders (Belgium) in 2006 to reassess the influence of religion and world view on palliative-care nurses’ attitudes towards euthanasia. A highly significant association was observed between religious or ideological clusters and euthanasia clusters (p < 0.001). Nurses belonging to religious or ideological clusters, characterised by a more frequent attendance of religious services, seem to be less likely to support euthanasia. Yet, religious beliefs such as belief in a God who actively intervenes in human lives were also more typical of these clusters. Such beliefs could influence attitudes towards euthanasia. The comparison of euthanasia clusters with religious and ideological factors showed that the ideological dimension, among palliative-care nurses in Flanders, most strongly determines euthanasia attitudes.

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