Public acceptance of euthanasia in Europe: a survey study in 47 countries
- 3.1k Downloads
In recent years, the European euthanasia debate has become more intense, and the practice was legalized in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg. We aimed to determine the current degree of public acceptance of euthanasia across Europe and investigate what factors explain differences.
Data were derived from the 2008 wave of the European Values Survey (EVS), conducted in 47 European countries (N = 67,786, response rate = 69 %). Acceptance of euthanasia was rated on a 1–10 scale.
Relatively high acceptance was found in a small cluster of Western European countries, including the three countries that have legalized euthanasia and Denmark, France, Sweden and Spain. In a large part of Europe public acceptance was relatively low to moderate. Comparison with the results of the previous EVS wave (1999) suggests a tendency towards a polarization in Europe, with most of Western Europe becoming more permissive and most of Eastern Europe becoming less permissive.
There is roughly a West-East division in euthanasia acceptance among the European public, making a pan-European policy approach to the issue difficult.
KeywordsEuthanasia Public opinion Cross-national comparison Survey Eastern Europe Western Europe
Joachim Cohen is a postdoctoral Fellow of the Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO). This study used data of the European Values Study 2008, 4th wave, Integrated Dataset. GESIS Data Archive, Cologne, Germany, ZA4800 Dataset Version 2.0.0 (2010-11-30), doi: 10.4232/1.10188. The analyses and writing activities were funded by a grant from the Research Council of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (HOA27). We would like to thank Jane Ruthven for proofreading and copy editing the manuscript.
- Campbell CS (2000) Euthanasia and religion. UNESCO Courier 53(1):37–39Google Scholar
- Crumley B (2008) French Euthanasia case rumbles on. http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1726787,00.html
- De Moor R (1995) Values in Western Societies. Tilburg University Press, TilburgGoogle Scholar
- deCesare MA (2000) Public attitudes toward euthanasia and suicide for terminally ill persons: 1977 and 1996. Soc Biol 47(3–4):264–276Google Scholar
- EVS (2010a) European values study 2008, 4th wave, Integrated Dataset. GESIS Data Archive, Cologne, Germany, ZA4800 Dataset Version 2.0.0 (2010-11-30). doi: 10.4232/1.10188
- EVS (2010b) EVS 2008 guidelines and recommendations. GESIS-Technical Reports 2010/16. http://www.europeanvaluesstudy.eu/
- EVS, GESIS (2010): EVS 2008 Method Report. GESIS-Technical Reports 2010/17. http://www.europeanvaluesstudy.eu/
- Green-Pedersen C (2007) The conflict of conflicts in comparative perspective: Euthanasia as a political issue in Denmark, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Compar Politics 39(3):273–291Google Scholar
- Halman L, Luijkx R, van Zudert M (2005) Atlas of European values. Brill, LeidenGoogle Scholar
- Hevesi D (2008) Hugo Claus, one of Belgiumʼs most renowned authors, Dies at 78, New York TimesGoogle Scholar
- Holloway HD, Hayslip B, Murdock ME (1994) Measuring attitudes toward euthanasia. Omega (Westport) 30(1):53–65Google Scholar
- Jorgenson DE, Neubecker RC (1980) Euthanasia: a national survey of attitudes toward voluntary termination of life. Omega (Westport) 11(4):281–291Google Scholar
- Larue GA (1985) Euthanasia and religion. A survey of the attitudes of world religions to the right-to-die. The Hemlock Society, Los AngelesGoogle Scholar
- Schroder C, Schmutzer G, Klaiberg A et al (2003) Attitudes towards professional euthanasia in the range between grement in the society and personal preferences—results of a representative examination of the German general population. Psychother Psychosom Med Psychol 53(8):334–343PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar