Effect of Education Level and Religion on Attitude to Stem Cells in Malaysia (Kesan Tahap Pendidikan dan Agama ke atas Sikap terhadap Sel Stem di Malaysia)

Latifah Amin, Hasrizul Hashim, Maznah Ibrahim, Anisah Che Ngah, Nik Marzuki Sidik

Abstract


The issue of using stem cells derived from human embryos and adult tissues to treat diseases has been divisively debated mainly due to ethical concerns. The objective of this article was to assess and compare the attitude level of the Malaysian public in the Klang Valley region towards human adult stem cells (hASCs) and human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). Results of the survey on 509 adult respondents revealed that the Malaysian public expressed higher support for hASCs, perceived the application as having lower moral concern and more acceptable by their religion as compared to hESCs. Univariate analysis following Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) confirmed that there were significant differences for perceived benefits and religious acceptance of hASCs across education level. Respondents who hold tertiary education level tended to perceive both hESCs and hASCs as more beneficial and believed the applications as more acceptable from their religious point of view. Their opinion of hASCs differed significantly compared to the respondents who hold pre-university education. Respondents from all religions perceived both hESCs and hASCs as having moderate benefits and risks. Significant differences were only detected for perceived moral concerns and encouragement of hESCs across religion. The Christians expressed greater moral concern of both hESCs and hASCs compared to other religions but post hoc test only detected significant difference in their opinion on hESCs from the Buddhists. The Buddhists were found to be more supportive towards both hESCs and hASCs but their support level for hESCs only differed significantly from the Muslims.

Keywords: Attitude; stem cells; education level; religion; Malaysia

 

ABSTRAK

Isu penggunaan sel stem yang diperolehi dari embrio dan tisu dewasa manusia untuk merawat penyakit telah dibahaskan akibat kebimbangan masyarakat terhadap aspek etika. Tujuan utama kajian ini adalah untuk menilai dan membandingkan sikap orang awam di Lembah Klang, Malaysia terhadap penggunaan sel stem dewasa manusia (hASCs) dan sel stem janin manusia (hESCs). Hasil survei ke atas 509 responden mendapati masyarakat Malaysia telah menyatakan tahap sokongan yang lebih tinggi terhadap hASCs dan berpandangan bahawa aplikasi yang melibatkan hASCs mempunyai tahap kebimbangan moral yang lebih rendah dan lebih diterima oleh agama berbanding hESCs. Analisis univariat susulan dari MANOVA mengesahkan bahawa terdapat perbezaan yang signifikan bagi faedah dan penerimaan agama hASCs berdasarkan tahap pendidikan. Responden yang memiliki tahap pendidikan yang lebih tinggi cenderung untuk melihat kedua-dua hESCs dan hASCs sebagai lebih berfaedah dan berpandangan bahawa kedua-dua aplikasi lebih diterima dari sudut agama. Persepsi mereka terhadap hASCs berbeza secara signifikan berbanding responden yang hanya memiliki pendidikan pra-universiti. Responden dari semua agama menganggap kedua-dua hESCs dan hASCs sebagai mempunyai tahap faedah dan risiko yang sederhana. Perbezaan yang signifikan hanya dikesan bagi kebimbangan moral dan galakan hESCs dari sudut agama. Responden beragama Kristian telah melahirkan kebimbangan moral yang lebih tinggi terhadap hESCs dan hASCs dan pandangan mereka terhadap hESCs berbeza secara signifikan berbanding responden beragama Buddha. Responden beragama Buddha amat menyokong kedua-dua hESCs dan hASCs tetapi tahap sokongan mereka terhadap hESCs berbeza secara signifikan dengan responden beragama Islam.

Kata kunci: Sikap; sel stem; tahap pendidikan; agama; Malaysia


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