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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Role of and Challenges for Psychologists in Physician Assisted Suicide

Shara M. Johnson, Robert J. Cramer, Mary Alice Conroy, and Brett O. Gardner
Death Studies, 38: 582–588, 2014
Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN: 0748-1187 print/1091-7683 online
DOI: 10.1080/07481187.2013.820228


Physician assisted suicide (PAS) poses complex legal and ethical dilemmas for practicing psychologists. Since the passage of the Oregon Death with Dignity Act in 1997, Montana and Washington have passed similar legislation. Despite the law requiring competence evaluations by medical and psychological professionals, existing psycholegal literature inadequately addresses the role of psychologists in the PAS process. This article reviews legal statutes and analyzes ethical dilemmas psychologists may face if involved. We consider competence both generally and in the context of PAS. Suggestions are made for psychologists completing competence assessments and future directions to improve competence assessments for PAS are provided.

The entire article is here.