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ERIC Number: EJ773480
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2003
Pages: 16
Abstractor: Author
ISSN: ISSN-0091-4150
Preferences for Prolonging Life: A Prospect Theory Approach
Winter, Laraine; Lawton, M. Powell; Ruckdeschel, Katy
International Journal of Aging and Human Development, v56 n2 p155-170 2003
Kahneman and Tversky's (1979) Prospect theory was tested as a model of preferences for prolonging life under various hypothetical health statuses. A sample of 384 elderly people living in congregate housing (263 healthy, 131 frail) indicated how long (if at all) they would want to live under each of nine hypothetical health conditions (e.g., limited to bed or chair in a nursing home). Prospect theory, a decision model which takes into account the individual's point of reference, would predict that frail people would view prospective poorer health conditions as more tolerable and express preferences to live longer in worse health than would currently healthy people. In separate analyses of covariance, we evaluated preferences for continued life under four conditions of functional ability, four conditions of cognitive impairment, and three pain conditions--each as a function of participant's current health status (frail vs. healthy). The predicted interaction between frailty and declining prospective health status was obtained. Frail participants expressed preferences for longer life under more compromised health conditions than did healthy participants. The results imply that such preferences are malleable, changing as health deteriorates. They also help explain disparities between proxy decision-makers' and patients' own preferences as expressed in advance directives. (Contains 2 figures and 4 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A