Black, Hispanic end-of-life views rooted in faith, family — and mistrust

By | November 21, 2013

“A higher power will deliver me.”

“If Jesus suffered, I’m going to suffer.”

“I have a daughter, why would I need an advance directive?”

That’s what elderly African-Americans have told Karen Bullock, a medical sociologist and social worker.

Race, religion and a sense of the role of the family all play into end-of-life decisions for African-Americans, “and you cannot disentangle them,” said Bullock, a professor and head of the department of social work at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C.

A new survey on end-of-life issues, released Thursday (Nov. 21) by the Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project, bears this out: Blacks and Hispanics are twice as likely as white Protestants, Catholics and people of no religious identity to insist that doctors do everything possible to stave off death, even in the face of incurable disease and great pain. (Religion News Service)

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