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Willingness to become an organ donor: does health status matter?

1 January 2016


As of June 2014, 123,018 people are on the organ transplant waitlist maintained by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS; Department of Health and Human Services [HHS], 2014). The demand for organ transplants currently exceeds the number of willing donors. In the United States each day, an average of 79 individuals receive organ transplants while another 18 individuals die waiting for available organs (Chon et al., 2014). This study was designed to explore attitudes toward organ donation, intention to become an organ donor, behavioral commitment to becoming an organ donor, and how knowledge of compromised health statuses (i.e., HIV status, multiple sclerosis, hepatitis, no presented/no apparent medical complication) of the recipient may impact an individual’s willingness to become an organ donor. The results of this study indicated that the lack of viable organ donors is a far more complex issue regarding pro- and anti-organ donation attitudes and behavioral commitment to donate. The results of this study indicated that education is not correlated with the number of correct responses on the Organ Donation Knowledge Survey (ODKS) as previously found by Horton and Horton (1990). However, individuals who are more familiar with organ donation and have a higher level or knowledge regarding organ donation are more likely to have pro-organ donation attitudes and be more willing to donate his or her organs as evidenced by the behavioral commitment to donate. Health status did not have a significant impact on the willingness of the participants’ willingness to become an organ donor.


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