Meanings and attitudes toward end-of-life preferences in Israel

Ronit D. Leichtentritt, Kathryn D. Rettig*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Thirty-six elderly people in Israel were interviewed concerning their meanings and attitudes toward end-of-life preferences. The phenomenological analysis method resulted in the identification of six meaning themes and a continuum of favorable to unfavorable attitude positions for each meaning theme. The combination of meaning themes and attitude positions produced 4 patterns of perspectives toward euthanasia, as well as a more holistic and integrative cultural dimension that was labeled Israeli ego integrity. The 6 meaning themes were (a) moral perspectives, (b) religious beliefs, (c) mental and physical suffering, (d) family and community implications, (e) gaining control by willingness to trust others, and (f) previous experiences with death. The 4 patterns of perspectives toward euthanasia emphasized consequences for others, religious perspectives, concerns for personal suffering, and concerns for moral choice. The extensive diversity in the meaning-attitude perspectives from a small of elderly people suggested challenges for Israeli policy in regard to legalizing the living will to respect patients' rights to make end-of-life decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-358
Number of pages36
JournalDeath Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 1999


FundersFunder number
Dora A. Waller Award for International Research in the College of Human Ecology at the University of Minnesota
Montana Agricultural Experiment Station


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