Effects of financial incentives on the intention to consent to organ donation: a questionnaire survey

D Mayrhofer-Reinhartshuber, A Fitzgerald, G Benetka, R Fitzgerald
Transplantation Proceedings 2006, 38 (9): 2756-60

INTRODUCTION: Shortage of donor organs is a serious problem for transplantation medicine. One controversial suggestion to increase the number of organ donors is financial incentives for consent. The aim of this study was to test whether different forms and amounts of financial incentives were apt to increase the consent to organ donation.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Data were collected via questionnaires in urban and rural regions of Austria and randomly assigned to settings with three different amounts of financial incentives. The questionnaire was designed by using the theory of planned behaviour of Ajzen. Parents 69 mothers and 35 fathers; ages 25 to 65 years were evaluated for intention to consent to organ donation, perceived social norm, and positive/ negative aspects of organ donation without and with various financial incentives.

RESULTS: The intention to consent to organ donation dropped highly significantly (Z = -7.556 P = .000) from the basic condition (M = 1.13; confidence interval [CIs] 0.78 to 1.51) to the condition with financial incentives (M = -1.58; CI, 1.96 to -1.15). No influence of the amount of financial incentive was observed. Highly significant differences were measured between both conditions for the social norm (Z = -5.638; P < .000) and the attitude toward organ donation (Z = -1.962; P < .05; Z = -2.104; P < .035).

CONCLUSIONS: Financial incentives led to decreased consents and elicited strong rejections and negative reactions of the participants. Taking money for consent to organ donation seems to be a strict taboo for most people in Austrian society.

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