Knowledge regarding organ donation: identifying and overcoming barriers to organ donation

R L Horton, P J Horton
Social Science & Medicine 1990, 31 (7): 791-800
Four-hundred and fifty-five undergraduate students, 26 MBA students, and 465 people from the surrounding community responded to 21 true/false questions regarding factual knowledge about organ donation. The mean number of correct answers was 74.6%. The correct response rate, however, varied widely over questions. Four questions with very large error rates suggest possible 'barriers to donation'. Specifically, these questions concerned religious support for organ donation, the concept of brain death, the normally rigid separation of physician teams who are primarily responsible for the welfare of the donor and donee, and a mistaken belief that to be valid an organ donor card must be filed with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Knowledge of organ donation facts was found to be related to whether subjects carried or requested an organ donor card, their attitude towards organ donation and their willingness to donate their own organs or the organs of a deceased loved one. These findings suggest strategies for raising public support for organ donation.

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