Increasing Dutch adolescents' willingness to register their organ donation preference: the effectiveness of an education programme delivered by kidney transplantation patients

Marleen Smits, Bart van den Borne, Anton J Dijker, Richard M Ryckman
European Journal of Public Health 2006, 16 (1): 106-10

BACKGROUND: This study assessed the effects of an educational programme about organ donation delivered by (ex-)patients with a successfully transplanted donor kidney on the willingness of adolescents to register their organ donation preference.

METHODS: A total of 319 secondary school students were randomly assigned to a control group who received no specific educational information about organ donation or to an experimental group who received a 45-min lesson provided by an (ex-)patient. The lesson consisted of a presentation of basic facts about organ donation, the patient's own experiences with organ donation and a discussion with the students about organ donation and related issues.

RESULTS: The educational programme increased the intention of the students to register their organ donation preference. Also, positive outcome expectancies, self-control over the decision, and knowledge increased and negative outcome expectancies decreased. However, it did not lead to a substantially larger percentage of students who intend to register themselves as a potential organ donor. Experimental students were less willing to let their relatives choose to make the decision in the case that they die, but reported being more willing to make the decision themselves through registration.

CONCLUSIONS: (Ex-)patients with experience with organ donation can successfully encourage adolescents to make a well-considered choice with regard to organ donation registration.

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