Objectives: Prevalence rates of death by euthanasia (EUT) and physician-assisted suicide (PAS) have increased among older adults, and public debates on these practices are still taking place. In this context, it seemed important to conduct a systematic review of the predictors (demographic, physical health, psychological, social, quality of life, religious, or existential) associated with attitudes toward, wishes and requests for, as well as death by EUT/PAS among individuals aged 60 years and over.
Method: The search for quantitative studies in PsycINFO and MEDLINE databases was conducted three times from February 2016 until April 2018. Articles of probable relevance (n = 327) were assessed for eligibility. Studies that only presented descriptive data (n = 306) were excluded.
Results: This review identified 21 studies with predictive analyses, but in only 4 did older adults face actual end-of-life decisions. Most studies (17) investigated attitudes toward EUT/PAS (9 through hypothetical scenarios). Younger age, lower religiosity, higher education, and higher socio-economic status were the most consistent predictors of endorsement of EUT/PAS. Findings were heterogeneous with regard to physical health, psychological, and social factors. Findings were difficult to compare across studies because of the variety of sample characteristics and outcomes measures.
Conclusion: Future studies should adopt common and explicit definitions of EUT/PAS, as well as research designs (e.g. mixed longitudinal) that allow for better consideration of personal, social, and cultural factors, and their interplay, on EUT/PAS decisions.
Despite the potentially devastating effects of a death on the lives of adolescents, little is known about their help-seeking experiences. We interviewed by telephone 39 bereaved adolescents on their help-seeking experiences. Thematic analysis resulted in three themes: Formal support, Informal support and School-related support. Participants provided a critical appraisal of positive and negative experiences, and noted barriers and facilitators for help-seeking. As adolescents bereaved through suicide may receive less social support, professional help is a much-needed auxiliary. Parental encouragement is important in accessing adequate professional help.
Death of a relative or friend is a potentially disruptive event in the lives of adolescents. To provide targeted help, it is crucial to understand their grief and mental health experiences. Thematic analysis of 39 semistructured telephone interviews yielded two themes: Grieving apart together and Personal growth. High self-reliance and selective sharing were common. Feelings of guilt and "why" questions seemed more pronounced among the suicide bereaved. There was strong evidence of personal growth, increased maturity, and capacity to deal with personal mental health/suicidality. Despite its devastating effects, experiencing a death can be a catalyst for positive mental health.
Background: To develop an empirically derived, reliable and valid measure of grief in adolescents, aged 12–18 years old.
Methods: An online survey comprising 59 items derived from a qualitative study of 39 bereaved adolescents, the Hogan Inventory of Bereavement Children and Adolescents (HIB), the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scales (DASS-21), the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS), and a series of death- and mental health-related questions, targeted adolescents bereaved when aged 12–18 years, with 176 adolescents (80.6% girls) completing the survey.
Results: Factor Analysis of the 59-items resulted in a final solution, the Adolescent Grief Inventory (AGI) comprised of 40 items and 6 factors: Sadness, Self-blame, Anxiety and Self-harm, Shock, Anger and Betrayal, and Sense of Peace, with indices of good fit (RMSEA = 0.057, CFI = 0.952, TLI = 0.948). There was strong evidence of convergent (HIB) and divergent (MSPSS) validity. Adolescents bereaved by suicide scored higher on Self-blame, Anger and Betrayal while those with a history of suicidal behaviour or having a mental health diagnosis scored higher overall than those who had not.
Limitations: Study limitations include the self-selected, mostly female, sample, a high proportion of participants with a mental health and self-harm history, and reliance on self-reported data.
Conclusions: The AGI is a novel, comprehensive and valid measure of grief in adolescents. It can be used broadly, including with bereaved adolescents at-risk of mental health ramifications.