Attitudes of university students towards euthanasia.
Nkwinika, Khazamula Thomas.
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Euthanasia has emerged as one of the leading ethical and moral issues of our time. This practice has been debated ever since ancient times. Medical and religious organizations are the front runners of this debate. At present, people of all classes have joined in and euthanasia movements have increased. Arguments in favour of euthanasia focus on the principles of self-determination and autonomy. The opponents on the other hand stress the danger of abuse of the practice and benefits of palliative care. The objective of this study was to explore the attitudes of university students towards the practice of euthanasia. The sample comprised three-hundred and ninety-two students from the faculties of Theology (100), Human Sciences (96), Law (99) and Medicine (99). Convenience sampling method was used to select the sample. Four different scales were used to collect data. MANOVA was used to analyze data. The results of this study showed that age and gender were not associated with the students' attitudes towards euthanasia, experiences with regards to end-of-life situations, level of religious beliefs and beliefs in autonomy. The students' year of study was also not associated with their attitudes towards euthanasia, level of religious beliefs as well as beliefs in autonomy. However, the findings showed that senior students had more experiences with regards to end-of-life situations, followed by post graduate while first- year students had the least experiences. Faculty was found to be associated with attitudes towards euthanasia, experiences with end-of-life situations as well as level of religious beliefs. Theology followed by Medical students showed the most positive attitudes towards euthanasia. Human sciences had the least positive attitudes towards euthanasia. Theology students had more experiences with regard to end-of-life situations while Human sciences showed the least experiences. Theology students were the most religious of the groups while Human sciences were the least. Medical students had the highest autonomy more than Human sciences students.