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An international comparative study on permissiveness towards euthanasia

Sociologists Ellen Verbakel (Tilburg University) and Eva Jansen (Nijmegen University) performed a study to explore explanations for the approval of euthanasia by assessing the differences among individuals and countries.

This multilevel analysis on data from thirty three (33) countries worldwide (using European Values Study 1999/2000 and World Values Survey 2000) enriched with country specific data was published in Public Opinion Quarterly, vol 74, nr 1. pp 109-139. They formulated and subsequently used four main hypotheses based on 1) the religious argument, 2) the slippery slope argument (mainly used by opponents), and 3) and 4) (used by proponents) the autonomy argument and the death with dignity argument.

Their conclusion is that three out of four hypotheses could be corroborated by their results; the hypothesis based on the death with dignity argument was only partially supported. Recommendations for further research were presented.