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

59 Citations (Scopus)

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
StatePublished - Feb 2004
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

organ donation
Tissue and Organ Procurement
African Americans
family member
Communication
Transplants
communication
Logistics
Health
Availability
Altruism
Health Communication
altruism
donation
Social Norms
integrity
Health Promotion
ethnic group
Ethnic Groups
campaign

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Social Psychology

Cite this

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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.",
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