Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

VA Health Systems Research

Go to the VA ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

Mental health outcomes of family members of Oregonians who request physician aid in dying.

Ganzini L, Goy ER, Dobscha SK, Prigerson H. Mental health outcomes of family members of Oregonians who request physician aid in dying. Journal of pain and symptom management. 2009 Dec 1; 38(6):807-15.

Related HSR&D Project(s)

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


Oregon legalized physician aid in dying over 10 years ago but little is known about the effects of this choice on family members'' mental health. We surveyed 95 family members of decedent Oregonians who had explicitly requested aid in dying, including 59 whose loved one received a lethal prescription and 36 whose loved one died by lethal ingestion. For comparison purposes, family members of Oregonians who died of cancer or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis also were surveyed. A mean of 14 months after death, 11% of family members whose loved one requested aid in dying had major depressive disorder, 2% had prolonged grief, and 38% had received mental health care. Among those whose family member requested aid in dying, whether or not the patient accessed a lethal prescription had no influence on subsequent depression, grief, or mental health services use; however, family members of Oregonians who received a lethal prescription were more likely to believe that their loved one''s choices were honored and less likely to have regrets about how the loved one died. Comparing family members of those who requested aid in dying to those who did not revealed no differences in primary mental health outcomes of depression, grief, or mental health services use. Family members of Oregonians who requested aid in dying felt more prepared and accepting of the death than comparison family members. In summary, pursuit of aid in dying does not have negative effects on surviving family members and may be associated with greater preparation and acceptance of death.

Questions about the HSR website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.