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Changing attitudes towards euthanasia among medical students in Austria

Background In most European countries the attitudes regarding the acceptability of active euthanasia have clearly changed in the population since World War II. Therefore, it is interesting to know which trends in attitudes prevail among the physicians of the future.

Methods The present study analyses trends in the attitudes towards active euthanasia in medical students at the Medical University of Graz, Austria. The survey was conducted over a period of 9 years, enabling us to investigate trends regarding both attitudes and underlying motives.

Results Acceptance of active euthanasia increased from 16.3% to 29.1% to 49.5% in the periods from 2001 to 2003/04 to 2008/09.

Conclusions The survey period from 2001 to 2009 reveals a massive change in medical students' attitudes towards active euthanasia under medical supervision. Ethical convictions of medical doctors seem to fall back behind a higher valuation of the autonomy of the patient.

  • Biomonitoring
  • toxicology
  • metals
  • attitudes toward death
  • care of the dying patient
  • prolongation of life and euthanasia

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