Student and community perceptions about organ donors, non-donors, and transplant recipients

Hyde, Melissa K. & White, Katherine M. (2009) Student and community perceptions about organ donors, non-donors, and transplant recipients. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 19(2), pp. 125-141.

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Despite efforts to encourage organ donation, low organ donation rates in Australia and other Western nations do not meet the demand for transplantable organs. One influence on organ donation decision-making yet to be fully explored is that of prototype perceptions about organ donors, non-donors, and transplant recipients. We conducted focus groups and interviews with 54 student and community participants to explore these perceptions of donors and non-donors in a living and posthumous context, as well as transplant recipients. Using content and thematic analysis, transcripts were analysed for consistently emerging themes. Donors were generally perceived positively as altruistic and giving and as ordinary people; however, some participants questioned the motives of living anonymous donors. Non-donors were commonly viewed negatively as self-absorbed and unaware, with living-related non-donors particularly perceived as cold-hearted and weak. Transplant recipients were generally viewed sympathetically (unfortunate and unwell); however, many participants also expressed negative views about transplant recipients as responsible for their predicament, depending upon the type of organ transplant needed. To encourage people's willingness to donate their organs, it is crucial to understand the extent to which these perceptions influence organ donation decisions.

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13 citations in Scopus
13 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 15652
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: organ donation, organ donors, transplant recipients, organ transplantation
DOI: 10.1002/casp.979
ISSN: 1052-9284
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Social and Community Psychology (170113)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Copyright Statement: The definite version is available on publication at
Deposited On: 18 Nov 2008 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:52

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