A Cross-Cultural Investigation of the Lifestyle Factors Affecting Laypeople's Allocation of a Scarce Medical Resource

Agathe Nguyen Huynh, Adrian Furnham, Alastair McClelland
2020 Health (Irvine, Calif.)  
This study investigates how lifestyle factors affect laypeople's allocation of a scarce medical resource and explores cross-cultural differences in ethical decision-making between the UK, France and Switzerland. A total of 193 participants completed an online questionnaire in which they had to rate the profiles of 16 hypothetical patients in terms of priority for access to kidney dialysis. Each profile was a unique combination of the following lifestyle factors: smoking behaviour, alcohol
more » ... iour, alcohol consumption, weight and amount of physical activity. As predicted, it was found that non-smokers were favoured over smokers, moderate drinkers over heavy drinkers, normal weight patients over obese patients and frequent exercisers over infrequent exercisers. However, contrary to our predictions, no cross-cultural differences were evident. The potential impact of these findings with respect to the formulation of guidelines for allocating scarce medical resources is discussed. Psychological studies have been conducted to investigate the criteria used when laypeople allocate scarce medical resources. They found that these criteria were sometimes different from the ones advised by philosophers and health economists [9] . Health economists mainly promote the utilitarian principle of maximizing A. Nguyen Huynh et al.
doi:10.4236/health.2020.122013 fatcat:bp2n4ub2vjf5tkfetsr3f7v23i