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Individualism and Authoritarianism Shape Attitudes Toward Physician?Assisted Suicide
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We investigated the relation between value orientations and attitudes toward physician‐assisted suicide (PAS) in 267 United States college students. We predicted that individualistic values, especially those having to do with control and self‐determination, would lead to favorable attitudes toward PAS, and authoritarianism would lead to a rejection of PAS. A positive association between individualism and approval of PAS emerged which was moderated by attitude importance: People who did not endorse individualistic values did not have favorable opinions of PAS, regardless of how important the issue was to them. However, for individualists, PAS attitudes and attitude importance were positively related. Independent of individualism, authoritarianism was negatively related to PAS attitudes. Primarily for low authoritarianism, we found a correlation between attitude and attitude importance. The discussion focuses on the value‐expressive function of death‐related attitudes.