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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Psychosocial variables associated with willingness to donate organs

B E Nolan, N P Spanos
Canadian Medical Association Journal: CMAJ 1989 July 1, 141 (1): 27-32
2731099
Questionnaires were administered to 108 university psychology students to investigate attitudes and behaviour related to organ donation. Three groups (committed, uncommitted and opposed) were identified. A multivariate analysis of variance showed that, compared with uncommitted donors, committed donors felt better informed about organ donation, had discussed donation more often with family members and knew more people who had signed donor cards. The subjects in the opposed group and those in the uncommitted group cited different reasons for not signing a donor card. Empathy, religious beliefs and attitudes about death did not affect willingness to donate. Analyses of the interaction between willingness to donate one's own organs and willingness to donate those of a family member revealed a monotonic increase in willingness to donate the organs of a family member as the type of recipient became more personally relevant. Our findings indicate that when health care professionals request donor organs the potential recipients must be presented to the potential donors in a personally relevant manner. Educational programs must be developed to train medical personnel in how to effectively ask for organs without coercing the potential donor or invading the privacy of the potential recipient.

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