Senior Honors Projects, 2010-2019

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Spring 2019


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)


Department of Health Sciences


Dayna Henry

Michael Klein

Aimee Johnson


Background: Advance Care Directives (ACDs) are forms that are beneficial for expressing end-of-life wishes during Advance Care Planning (ACP); however, few studies have focused on awareness and completion among college-aged populations. Completion of ACDs are more common among populations forced to think about potential of death, such as the elderly and chronically ill.

Methodology: This research is comprised of two parts in order to explore the availability of resources on four-year public institutions’ official websites (institutional level), and college-aged students’ beliefs and values. The institutional level took inventory of information available on the official websites of four-year public institutions (n=1,642). The student level surveyed JMU students (n=360) with an online questionnaire comprised of demographic questions, beliefs and values scales, and general ACD questions.

Results: The majority of four-year public institutions do not provide public information to their students regarding ACDs and ACP. Students showed higher scores on the Death Depression Scale and College Beliefs and Values Scale when there was no knowledge of ACP.

Discussion: Institutions that do not provide information regarding ACDs and ACP should use other institutions as models for designing materials that will raise awareness and assist students in completing these documents. The Death Depression Scale and one subscale of the College Students Beliefs and Values Scale identified the likelihood of ACP knowledge. Lower average scores on the Death Depression Scale and organ donation are two of the most significant predictors of likelihood of ACP knowledge or completion.

Keywords: advanced care planning, advanced care directive, college students, four-year public institution, death, end-of-life



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