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Particular religious beliefs influence people's attitudes to euthanasia, study finds

Attitudes to euthanasia also influenced how people valued health

PEOPLE'S attachment to particular religious beliefs influence their attitudes to euthanasia, academics have found.

Attitudes to euthanasia also influenced how people valued health, including health states considered worse than being dead.

The study by researchers from NUI Galway and Queen's University Belfast was published in the journal, Health and Quality of Life Outcomes.

Information was collected on a group of 160 individuals' attachment to religious beliefs and their attitudes to euthanasia in Ireland.

Those who attended religious services frequently were less likely to be in support of a doctor ending a person's life due to having a painful incurable disease, in comparison to those who attended religious services less frequently.

People who were less likely to support euthanasia were subsequently less likely to consider any health state as being worse than dead, regardless of severity.

Luke Barry from the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway was one of the lead researchers of the study.

"Ireland has undergone significant social and cultural changes in recent decades, this research points to the potential ramifications of such changes including in less obvious quarters such as the allocation of healthcare resources," he said.

"How we compare alternative uses of healthcare resources, for example, one treatment over another, in terms of their relative value for money is contingent on how we `value' health. Our research highlights that these values appear to be related to our beliefs and attitudes which can change over time."

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