The role of psychologists in requests to hasten death: A literature and legislation review and an agenda for future research

Sílvia Marina, Tony Wainwright, Miguel Ricou
Published Online:
22 May 2020
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 56 Issue 1

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The opportunity for patients to request support to die is legalised in several countries and is associated with the development of a social and political debate that has taken place in recent years. We believe that psychologists can contribute to this debate. Here, we conducted a literature and legislation review with the aim of understanding arguments regarding the roles of the psychologist in hastening death. A systematic review of the peer‐review literature in this field was carried out. The legislation of each country with hasten death practices was analysed to understand if psychologists are included in the protocols of hasten death practices. Despite a lack of literature, we found competence assessment, communication, psychological counselling, research and training and public policy to be the possible roles of psychologists in requests to hasten death. Based on the review, an agenda for future research is developed. We highlight the importance of psychology, raising its profile in the study of the various forms of death hastening requests.

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