Advance directives and end-of-life care preferences among adults in Wuhan, China: a cross-sectional study.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


Little is known about advance directives (ADs) and end-of-life (EOL) care preferences among the general population in Mainland China. This study aimed to describe knowledge and attitudes of ADs and EOL care preferences, and to explore factors related to preferences for ADs among Chinese adults.


The sample included 1114 adult participants in Wuhan, Mainland China. A brief message including the link to the online survey was sent to local residents who were registered at household registration management centers in Wuhan. The questionnaire included information regarding demographics, self-rated health, views on ADs and EOL care. Bivariate analyses and binary forward logistic regression were conducted to examine factors related to ADs preferences of Chinese adults.


The average age of the sample was 48.0 years and more than half of the sample was female. 81.8% had never heard of ADs, but 86.6% indicated that they might create one after learning what ADs were. 58% would choose hospice care if they were terminally ill whereas 48.7% of the participants wanted to die at home. 92.3% would want to know their diagnosis and prognosis if ill; however, if their family members were diagnosed with an incurable disease, 50.5% would not tell their ill family member the actual diagnosis and prognosis. Those who had heard of ADs (OR = 1.567, p < 0.001), earned an associate's degree (OR = 2.448, p < 0.001) or a bachelor's degree or higher (OR = 2.382, p < 0.001), and self-rated their health as very poor/poor (OR = 1.002, p = 0.001) were more likely to be willing to make an AD than their counterparts. However, those who were single (OR = 0.149, p < 0.001) or widowed /divorced/separated (OR = 0.405, p = 0.001) were less likely to be willing to make an AD than the married ones.


Chinese adults showed positive attitudes towards ADs. There is an urgent need to promote more educational initiatives and raise awareness on the importance of ADs. It is important to develop more policies and legislation about ADs to improve the quality of EOL care in Mainland China.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Ni, P; Wu, B; Lin, H; Mao, J

Published Date

  • November 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 21 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 2042 -

PubMed ID

  • 34749682

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC8574939

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1471-2458

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1471-2458

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1186/s12889-021-12046-3


  • eng