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Article

Public Support for the Right to Euthanasia: Impact of Traditional Religiosity and Autonomy Values Across 37 Nations

International Journal of Comparative Sociology. 2018. Vol. 59. No. 4. P. 301-318.
Rudnev M., Savelkaeva Aleksandra.

This article takes a postmodernization perspective on support for the right to euthanasia by treating it as an expression of a process of value change, as a preference for quality over quantity of life. Using the data from the fifth wave of the World Values Survey, this study attempts to answer the question of whether the mass support for the right to euthanasia is an expression of autonomy values rather than just a function of a low religiosity. Multilevel regressions demonstrate that both traditional religiosity and autonomy values have a high impact at the individual level, while at the country level only the effects of traditional religiosity are significant. Autonomy values have stronger association with attitudes to euthanasia in countries with higher levels of postmaterialism. Multilevel path analysis demonstrates that the effect of religiosity is partially and weakly mediated by the values of autonomy at both levels. Although religiosity was found to have a much stronger impact, the independent effect of autonomy values suggests that mass support for the right to euthanasia is a value-driven preference for quality over quantity of life. We conclude by suggesting that the fall in traditional religiosity might emphasize the role of values in moral attitudes regulation.