OSR Journal of Student Research

Article Title

Reactions to Palliative Care Stigma (Healthcare decision making)


Although palliative care is critical managing symptoms, pain, and potentially transitions to end-oflife care among those facing serious or chronic illness, it is often underutilized which may be due to stigma associated with palliative care. In Study 1, participants (n=152) read an oncologist describe two treatment options to a terminally ill cancer patient: 1) palliative care and 2) chemotherapy. Participants were then randomly assigned to read that the patient chose either palliative care or chemotherapy. Those in the palliative care condition endorsed significantly higher levels of negative stereotypes about the patient, viewed their decision more negatively, and saw the patient as less afraid of death. In Study 2, these stereotypes about those receiving palliative care were examined as a potential mediator between perceived palliative care stigma and prospective palliative care use. Participants (n=199) completed self- report measures of palliative care stigma, negative stereotypes about palliative care users, and prospective use of palliative care. Mediation analysis was used to test the mediational effects of stereotypes on the relationship between palliative care stigma and prospective usage of palliative care. Results indicate palliative care stigma was associated with less prospective usage of palliative care for self and for one’s family member. This relationship was mediated by negative stereotypes about individuals receiving palliative care. Results suggest that palliative care stigma exists (Study 1) and that this stigma may be a barrier to the utilization of palliative care (Study 2). Future research should examine stigma reduction as a potential intervention target to improve palliative care utilization.

This document is currently not available here.