Reasons for joining a right-to-die society: Differences depending by the characteristics of members

Cavalli, Stefano and Beltrami, Sarah Lou and Pott, Murielle and Stauffer, Laeticia (2017) Reasons for joining a right-to-die society: Differences depending by the characteristics of members. UNSPECIFIED. In: Global aging and health: Bridging science, policy, and practice, 21st IAGG World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics, San Francisco. (Unpublished)

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Right-to-die societies are becoming increasingly popular in Switzerland as in other countries. Members are more likely to be female, older, and better educated than the general population. However research has paid limited attention to personal reasons and motivations for joining. This communication reports a survey of the membership of a Swiss right-to-society – EXIT A.D.M.D. Suisse romande. A self-administered questionnaire was sent by mail to a random sample of members aged of 65 years old and more. The answers of approximately 1,200 participants (about 30% response rate) provide insight into reasons that had led to a decision to join. Motives for membership included the concerns related to their own end-of-life (anticipation), the commitment to right-to-die philosophy (ideology), and the past involvement with serious illness or deaths of loved ones (experience). Reasons for joining vary according to the characteristics of the members. For instance, women mention more personal experiences than men (because they are more likely to live critical events and play more often the role of caregiver); people with a high level of education, and the non-religious, have more resort to ideological motivations. The combined analysis of the current age of the members and the length of membership in the society allows identifying different profiles. The "early joiners", regardless of their current age, say more often to have adhered for ideological reasons. Among the most recent members, the older (75+) reported mainly concerns related to the end-of-life, while the youngest (65-74) cited more personal experiences.

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