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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date

1999

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Graduate Nursing

First Advisor

Barbara Heater

Keywords

donation of organs, public opinion regarding donation of organs

Abstract

Increasingly, the treatment of choice for many conditions has become organ transplantation. The list of transplantable tissues and organs has continued to grow, thus, the list of those awaiting transplants has also been growing. In contrast, the number of organ donors has not increased over the past 10 years. A widening gap between supply and demand has left an acute shortage of organs for transplant and a serious public health problem. Positive attitudes toward and awareness of the need for organ donation has not led to a willingness to donate.
Lack of knowledge of organ donation was addressed as a potential barrier. However, only one study was found in this researcher's review of the literature that addressed knowledge of specific organ donation facts. The fivefold purpose of this study was based on the problem, which was derived from the review of the literature. The fivefold purpose of this study was: (a) to describe the knowledge of the general public on specific facts regarding organ donation, (b) to describe the attitudes of the general public toward organ donation, (c) to determine if there were a relationship between knowledge of specific organ donation facts and the attitudes toward organ donation, (d) to determine if there were a difference in the knowledge of organ donation facts scores between subjects willing to donate as indicated on one's drivers license or an organ donation card and those who were not, and (e)to determine if there were a difference in attitudes, both affective and behavioral, toward organ donation between subjects willing to donate as indicated on one’s drivers license or an organ donation card and those who were not.
A descriptive correlational and comparative design was used to study the variables under investigation. A random sample of 87 subjects was obtained from the general public of a midsize urban community in the Midwestern United States.
Results indicated positive attitudes toward and high awareness of the need for organ donation. Subjects indicating willingness to donate included 65.5% of the sample. A significant positive relationship between knowledge and affective attitudes (^0.03) was found. Subjects with more positive responses to the affective attitude questions scored higher on the knowledge of organ donation facts survey. The results indicated a significant difference between responses to the knowledge survey and willingness to be a donor (p=0.03). Those subjects who had indicated, either on their drivers license or on an organ donation card, willingness to donate had higher scores on the knowledge of organ donation facts survey. A significant difference was noted between both the affective attitude questions and an indication to donate (/7=0.0001) and the behavioral attitude questions and an indication to donate (p=0.001). Those subjects who had indicated, either on their drivers license or organ donation card, willingness to donate had more positive attitudes than those subjects not willing to donate.
The results suggested that increased knowledge of specific organ donation facts led to increased willingness to donate. The findings provide important data for organ procurement organizations, health institutions, and health professionals involved in organ donation. Ultimately the results will benefit patients awaiting organ transplants, their families, and all of society immeasurably.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Donation of organs, tissues, etc
Donation of organs, tissues, etc. -- Public opinion

Format

application/pdf

Number of Pages

80

Publisher

South Dakota State University

Rights

Copyright © 1999 Julie A. Nelson. All rights reserved

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