Date of Award

Summer 7-1992

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Community & Environmental Health


Community Health Professions

Committee Director

Gregory H. Frazer

Committee Member

Colin Box

Committee Member

Scott Sechrist

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.C48V37


The purpose of this study was to determine if the Patient Self-Determination Act was effective in providing information to young adults and will young adults not only have an accurate understanding of their health care rights but sufficient opportunity to exercise those rights. From a sample of convenience, 83 college students were randomly selected to complete a questionnaire. The questionnaire contained 71 questions devised to reflect various aspects of the Patient Self-Determination Act. Five additional questions were asked to determine a generalized profile of the students. Data analysis of the responses identified 5 significant legal misunderstandings and 5 significant medical misunderstandings. Of the 83 students, 91% had not heard of the Patient Self-Determination Act. Responses indicated that 53% of the students did not have a physician to talk with about their rights and 89.2% had not discussed their treatment preferences with a physician. Pooled variance t-tests indicated 56 significant mean differences between demographic subgroups within the composite instrument. The most significant differences were age and religion. The reliability of the questionnaire, as determined by test-retest was assessed to be .91. Results of this study could be used by federally mandated providers to improve their educational responsibilities to all adults. Associations, professional organizations and congressionally mandated committees providing follow-up studies could use this research to amend weaknesses in the implementation methods of this legislation.


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