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Transplantation. 2003 May 15;75(9):1517-23.

Factors associated with ambivalence about bone marrow donation among newly recruited unrelated potential donors.

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The Center for Research on Health Care, Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213, USA.



Previous research has indicated that feelings of ambivalence about donation are associated with donors' decisions not to donate and with less positive physical and psychosocial outcomes among donors who donated despite feeling ambivalent. The current study examines the prevalence of ambivalence among newly recruited potential bone marrow donors and identifies factors associated with greater ambivalence.


Using a cross-sectional design, questionnaires were mailed to a stratified random sample of individuals newly recruited to the National Marrow Donor Program registry at 71 local donor centers. A total of 426 new recruits (63%) completed and returned the questionnaire.


Bivariate analyses indicated that multiple recruitment experience and donor perception variables were significantly associated with ambivalence. Multivariate analysis revealed that the following eight variables were uniquely associated with higher levels of ambivalence after adjusting for the effects of other key indicators: participating in other volunteer activities, joining at a drive for a specific patient, perceiving the recruitment staff as less informative, being discouraged from joining by others, not having an intrinsic commitment to donate, being encouraged by one's culture or religion to join, believing there are risks to donation, and having a greater number of medical, work, and family concerns about donation.


Potential donors who are motivated by an intrinsic commitment to donate, rather than extrinsic pressure, are less ambivalent about donating. In addition, recruitment staff have a potentially critical role in reducing ambivalence among new recruits by providing information that may allay any unrealistic concerns recruits may have about the medical risks and impact of donation on work and family.

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