The power of talk: African Americans' communication with family members about organ donation and its impact on the willingness to donate organs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

64 Scopus citations

Abstract

Because organ donation does not take place without the consent of next-of-kin and because family discussion is known to be the strongest predictor of consent to donate, transplant advocates have promoted family communication about organ donation, but without much success. Fewer than half of all people who are willing to be organ donors discuss their wishes with family members. Family discussions about donation in the African-American community are especially critical because the need for organs in this ethnic group dramatically outstrips the availability, thus leading to a disproportionate number of deaths among African Americans. This study, grounded in the Organ Donation Model, surveyed 311 African-American adults about their attitudes and behaviors regarding family discussions about organ donation. Logistic and multiple regression analyses revealed that, as hypothesized, family talk attitudes and behaviors were predicted by attitudes, knowledge, and social norms associated with organ donation. In addition, variables such as bodily integrity, medical mistrust, religiosity, and altruism were found to contribute significantly to the explained variance. The implications of these findings for health communication researchers and campaign organizers are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)112-124
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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