SEOUL, Oct. 13 (Korea Bizwire) – Individuals with a more positive outlook on death are more likely to have better mental health than those who dread the end of life, according to a new survey by a medical team at Seoul National University Hospital.
A research team led by professor Yun Young-ho at Seoul National University Hospital’s Integrated Cancer Care Center carried out the survey last year with a sample of over 4,000 people who were either cancer patients themselves, family members with one, or doctors, during which respondents were asked about their outlook on death.
Findings from the survey released on Friday suggest those who responded negatively to death, saying death is the end of life and that it is painful and dreadful, are 20 percent to 40 percent more likely to have a less healthy mental state than those who don’t fear death as much.
In addition, the survey separated the respondents into two groups, one consisting of non-doctors and the other of doctors.
When asked about whether death would be painful and dreadful, 58.3 percent of the non-doctor group said ‘yes’, while the figure stood at 45.6 percent among doctors.
The researchers said the notable discrepancy between the two groups is reflective of the frequent encounters with death doctors experience at work.
The survey also asked the two groups whether they believed in life after death, to which 54.6 percent of the non-doctor group and 47.6 percent of the doctor group said yes.
With a new hospice law set to take effect within four months, legislation that was designed to grant patients the right to end their life gracefully, the findings from last year’s survey at Seoul National University Hospital solidify the government’s efforts to make patients’ voices heard more loudly when it comes to making medical care decisions for life prolongation.
“It’s necessary for medical staff to intervene appropriately to change the negative perception of death among patients. It’s also important to create an environment in society where patient choice in medical care for life prolongation is respected by starting the discussion of so-called ‘dying well’,” said Professor Yun.
The findings from the survey were published in the latest edition of Global Journal of Health Science.
Hyunsu Yim (firstname.lastname@example.org)