Tuesday, January 31, 2006—When it comes to end-of-life care, researchers have known for some time that ethnic groups have different perspectives on how they’d wish to be treated.

Now, a small study suggests there’s a gender gap even among people of the same ethnicity.

Interviews with focus groups in Michigan revealed that female African-Americans and Latinos are more likely to want doctors to pull out all the stops to keep them alive. In contrast, men say they’d prefer to be allowed to die, said lead author Sonia Duffy, research investigator with the Ann Arbor VA Medical Center and the University of Michigan.

The researchers also found that Arab-Americans and African-Americans have starkly different expectations of where they want to spend their last days.

“For Arabs, going to a nursing home is the worst thing that could happen to you. The strong expectation is that your family takes care of you,” Duffy said. “But African-Americans were more comfortable going to a nursing home, as they did not want to ’burden’ their families.”

The findings appear in the January issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

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