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Prog Transplant. 2014 Jun;24(2):178-88. doi: 10.7182/pit2014746.

Influence of scientific worldviews on attitudes toward organ transplants: national survey data from the United States.

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  • 1University of Nevada, Reno.
  • 2International Survey Center, Reno, Nevada.



Public acceptance of routine medical procedures is nearly universal, but controversy over dramatic or invasive procedures like transplants is common.


To assess the distributions and organization of public opinion on organ transplant and to discover the magnitude of the direct and indirect impacts of religion, scientific knowledge, and acceptance of evolution on individuals' support for organ transplant.


A representative sample (N=2069) of the US adult, English-speaking population in 2009.


Participants were administered the International Social Science Survey/USA 2009.


Organ transplants were warmly endorsed by most Americans in 2009, as earlier, but support is not universal. Confirmatory factor analysis shows that Americans' opinions on heart, kidney, and pancreas transplants all reflect the same underlying attitude toward major organ transplants. Structural equation modeling shows that scientific knowledge is the most important influence on these attitudes, with more knowledgeable persons being more supportive. Acceptance of the theory of evolution is the second most important factor, also associated with greater support for transplant. Growing up in a church-going family encourages people to support organ transplant, even after adjusting for other influences. Otherwise denomination and religious belief have only small indirect influences. Demographic differences are small.


These results provide clues about future trends. A religious revival, were it to occur, would not be likely to alter support for transplants. If public knowledge of science continues to increase, or acceptance of the theory of evolution grows, support for transplant will most likely increase.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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