Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

To be an organ donor, specific attitudes trump general support, study finds

Date:
April 11, 2014
Source:
American Psychological Association (APA)
Summary:
Most Americans say they support the idea of organ donation, yet fewer than half of eligible donors ever register, national polls show. That may be because supporting a good cause doesn’t mean people will take action. However, people are more likely to sign up if they have positive attitudes specifically about registering as a donor, according to research.

Most Americans say they support the idea of organ donation, yet fewer than half of eligible donors ever register, national polls show. That may be because supporting a good cause doesn't mean people will take action. However, people are more likely to sign up if they have positive attitudes specifically about registering as a donor, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.

Related Articles


In a 2005 Gallup poll, 95 percent of Americans said they "support or strongly support" organ donation, yet only 40 percent of eligible donors have registered, according to a study published online in the APA journal Health Psychology. "More than 120,000 people in the U.S. were on the waiting list for an organ transplant as of December 2013, and 18 people die each day because they didn't receive a transplantable organ," said lead researcher Jason T. Siegel, PhD, of Claremont Graduate University. "We wanted to figure out why there is such inconsistency between peoples' attitudes toward organ donation and donor registration."

If people said they felt positive specifically about signing up as an organ donor they were much more likely to register than if they simply said they strongly support the general idea of organ donation, the study found. This illustrates a psychological principle that specific attitudes are more likely to predict behavior than general attitudes, the authors wrote.

"It's a concept researchers need to keep in mind to gather more helpful data to support actions to change behaviors. Research on health issues has had a tendency to rely on global measures of attitude to predict behaviors such as smoking, drinking, taking medication or keeping doctor's appointments," Siegel said. "We should instead measure specific attitudes, whether they're about organ donations or any health-related behavior, from brushing teeth to binge-drinking."

Researchers conducted two experiments involving 516 people, none of whom were registered organ donors. In one experiment, 358 people completed an online survey; for the other, 158 college students answered a paper survey in class. Among the online group, specific attitudes as opposed to general attitudes were 75 percent (10 percent vs. 17 percent) more predictive of organ donor registration. For the students, specific attitudes were 150 percent (18.5 percent vs. 42.6 percent) more predictive of registration behavior than general attitudes. Researchers measured participants' attitudes based on their responses to questions on the surveys. All participants had an opportunity to register as an organ donor when they completed their survey. Of the online participants, 10 percent clicked on the link to a donor registration form and 13 percent of the students completed registration forms.

Both groups answered sets of questions to determine their general feelings about organ donation and different sets of questions about their specific attitudes toward becoming an organ donor. Students were asked two questions: "In general, how do you feel about organ donation?" and "How do you feel about registering yourself as an organ donor?" Their responses were rated on a continuum from negative to positive. The online participants responded that they agreed or disagreed to a range of comments, such as "I support the idea of organ donation for transplantation purposes," and they completed the sentence "Would registering yourself to be an organ donor …" with various phrases, such as "be a rewarding act?" or "be a source of anxiety?"

"Of course, positive attitudes are often not enough on their own to increase donor registration rates. Often what people need is ready access to a registration form," Siegel said.

The online survey participants were 61 percent men, average age 31, 75.4 percent white, 6.7 percent black, 7 percent Hispanic, 8.9 percent Asian-American,1.7 percent American Indian or Alaska Native and less than 1 percent Pacific Islander. The students were 64 percent women, average age 20, 37 percent Hispanic, 17 percent Asian-American, 10 percent white, 8 percent black, 5 percent Pacific Islander, 15 percent multiethnic and 8 percent other.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Psychological Association (APA). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jason T. Siegel, Mario A. Navarro, Cara N. Tan, Melissa K. Hyde. Attitude–behavior consistency, the principle of compatibility, and organ donation: A classic innovation.. Health Psychology, 2014; DOI: 10.1037/hea0000062

Cite This Page:

American Psychological Association (APA). "To be an organ donor, specific attitudes trump general support, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140411153617.htm>.
American Psychological Association (APA). (2014, April 11). To be an organ donor, specific attitudes trump general support, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140411153617.htm
American Psychological Association (APA). "To be an organ donor, specific attitudes trump general support, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140411153617.htm (accessed March 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Foods to Battle Stress

The Best Foods to Battle Stress

Buzz60 (Feb. 26, 2015) If you&apos;re dealing with anxiety, there are a few foods that can help. Krystin Goodwin (@krystingoodwin) has the best foods to tame stress. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sleeping Too Much Or Too Little Might Increase Stroke Risk

Sleeping Too Much Or Too Little Might Increase Stroke Risk

Newsy (Feb. 26, 2015) People who sleep more than eight hours per night are 45 percent more likely to have a stroke, according to a University of Cambridge study. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mayor Says District of Columbia to Go Ahead With Pot Legalization

Mayor Says District of Columbia to Go Ahead With Pot Legalization

Reuters - News Video Online (Feb. 25, 2015) Washington&apos;s mayor says the District of Columbia will move forward with marijuana legalization, despite pushback from Congress. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Marijuana Nowhere Near As Deadly As Alcohol: Study

Marijuana Nowhere Near As Deadly As Alcohol: Study

Newsy (Feb. 25, 2015) A new study says marijuana is about 114 times less deadly than alcohol. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins