Date of Award

Summer 8-15-2019

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



Medical aid in dying (MAID) is a process by which individuals with terminal illness can voluntarily ingest a lethal dose of medication provided to them by their physician to intentionally end their life. MAID is currently legal in eight U.S. states and several other countries. Licensed psychologists and other mental health professionals are implicated in MAID laws in the form of psychological evaluation that is required for select patients. Little is known about the knowledge and attitudes of psychologists regarding MAID, including views on legal and ethical acceptability, and professional competence to conduct psychological evaluations for patients requesting MAID. The current study investigated the knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs regarding MAID in a U.S. national sample of licensed psychologists (N = 248). Factual knowledge of MAID laws was high, and attitudes toward MAID were overwhelmingly positive. The strongest predictors of support for MAID were lower religiosity and more left/liberal political orientation. Nearly half of the sample reported they would refuse to conduct a psychological evaluation of a patient requesting MAID, mainly due to doubts about their competency to conduct such an evaluation. Findings indicate the potential need for specialty training for psychologists working with patients who request assistance dying at the end of life.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Brian Carpenter

Committee Members

Thomas Oltmanns, Alan Lambert, Nancy Morrow-Howell, Teresa Deshields,


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