Date of Award

Summer 8-11-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Counselor Education


Educational Leadership, Counseling, and Foundations

Major Professor

Roxanne Dufrene

Second Advisor

Barbara Herlihy

Third Advisor

Zarus Watson


The purpose this study was to explore the relationship between counseling mental health practitioners’ attitudes toward euthanasia and their ethical decision making levels when confronted with clients facing end-of-life concerns. A review of literature indicated a series of complex ethical, moral, and societal issues surrounding clients’ right-to-die issues. Because of the lack of research in the counseling field and the growing prevalence of right-to-die issues with clients who have a diagnosis of a terminal illness, more research in the counseling field is needed (Hadjistavropoulos, 1996; Winograd, 2012). Participants for the present study were recruited from six state divisions of the American Counseling Association; Alabama, Louisiana, North Dakota, Maryland, Vermont, and Utah. Two multiple regressions were conducted in addition to one correlation and one MANOVA. One multiple regression was conducted using EDMS-R ans the dependent variable and one multiple regression was conducted using ATE overall score as the dependent variable. The Independent variables used were years in practice, gender, state, and religion. The dependent variables used were participant EDMS-R score and participant ATE score. Variables were chosen to examine variability accounted for in ATE and EDMS-R participant scores. Findings from this small study indicated that counselors’ years in practice, gender, state, and religion accounted for more of the variability in their beliefs about euthanasia (13.5) than their ethical decision making levels (2.7). Also, counselors’ religion had the greatest effect on participants’ ATE overall scores and on their EDMS-R P index scores. Counselors’ ATE overall scores as well as their both active and passive scores were all shown to be correlated to their P index scores with their ATE active scores exhibiting the strongest correlation and their ATE passive score exhibiting the weakest correlation. Future research suggestions include assessing counselors’ religion in more depth, and focusing on the other demographic variables in the study, as well as conducting an initial qualitative study to provide insight from individual participants as opposed to assessing a large group of participants.


The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.