“More support, less distress?”: examining the role of social norms in alleviating practitioners’ psychological distress in the context of assisted dying services

Susilo Wibisono, Payam Mavandadi, Stuart Wilkinson, Catherine Amiot, Liz Forbat, Emma F. Thomas, Felicity Allen, Jean Decety, Kerrie Noonan, Kiara Minto, Lauren J. Breen, Madison Kho, Monique Crane, Morgana Lizzio-Wilson, Pascal Molenberghs, Winnifred Louis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study explores how providing assisted dying services affects the psychological distress of practitioners. It investigates the influence of professional norms that endorse such services within their field. Study 1 included veterinarians (N = 137, 75.2% female, Mage = 43.1 years, SDage = 12.7 years), and Study 2 health practitioner students (N = 386, 71.0% female, Mage = 21.0 years, SDage = 14.4 years). In both studies, participants indicated their degree of psychological distress following exposure to scenarios depicting assisted dying services that were relevant to their respective situations. In Study 1, we found that higher willingness to perform animal euthanasia was associated with lower distress, as were supportive norms. In Study 2, a negative association between a greater willingness to perform euthanasia and lower psychological distress occurred only when the provision of such services was supported by professional norms. In conclusion, psychological distress is buffered by supportive professional norms.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDeath Studies
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Apr 2024

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