Yet the Japanese medical residents are more conflicted about their approach compared with medical residents in the U.S.
The findings reflect cultural norms in the two countries, said lead researcher Baback B. Gabbay who was a fourth-year medical student at UCLA at the time the study was written. Family ties are stronger in Japan than in the U.S., where a tradition of individualism is more culturally ingrained. However, the degree of uncertainty in the responses of Japanese (medical?) residents may reflect changing cultural norms in Japan.
"Traditionally, the family in Japan usually decides what to tell the patient," Gabbay said. "It's different than in the United States, where the individual autonomy to make decisions is perceived as relatively more important."
"Negotiating End-of-Life Decision Making: A Comparison of Japanese and U.S. Residents' Approaches" is published in the July issue of Academic Medicine.
The researchers distributed surveys to 244 Japanese and 103 U.S. medical residents. Response rates were 74 percent for the Japanese residents and 71 percent among U.S. residents.
Among the findings: