Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Shon, Herbert


Since the enactment of California’s End of Life Option Act in 2016, physician assisted suicide (PAS) has become increasingly relevant within the field of medical social work. As a result, social workers will find themselves educating and assisting clients on EOLO. Research suggests that the amount of education and training received regarding PAS all had an impact on social workers’ perceived preparedness to discuss PAS as and EOLO. Additionally, research indicates that social workers collectively support and have a positive attitude towards PAS; however, there is little research that explores the extent to which a social worker’s personal values and ethics affect interaction with terminal clients who request PAS. This study explores whether a social workers’ personal beliefs, ethics, and values affect the end of life options provided to terminal clients. The study implements qualitative research methods by using semi-structured one-one-one interviews. Fifteen Hospice social workers were recruited as participants. Interviews were transcribed into written form and coded into general themes. The study found that although social workers identified with a religion, it did not influence the end of life options offered to clients. Additionally, the findings emphasized a need to increase training, education and develop a standard of practice for social workers who are required to counsel clients on PAS. Further research should be conducted to have a better understanding of how personal ethics and beliefs may interact with professional beliefs of social workers when interacting with clients who are requesting PAS.

Included in

Social Work Commons