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Health Commun. 2011 Dec;26(8):754-64. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2011.566831. Epub 2011 Jul 4.

"Can you spare an organ?": exploring Hispanic Americans' willingness to discuss living organ donation with loved ones.

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Department of Psychology, Claremont Graduate University, CA 91711, USA.


Living organ donation offers a means of overcoming the shortage of viable organs available for transplant: a shortage particularly problematic among Hispanics. One barrier standing between those in need of a kidney and a successful transplant operation is an inability, and often lack of desire, to talk to loved ones about the need for a living donation. With an eye on future intervention approaches, and guided in part by the theory of planned behavior, this research effort sought to explore the factors associated with a willingness to engage in a conversation about a living donation with loved ones. Study 1, a phone survey of Hispanic Americans drawn from a Hispanic surname list, reveals that while upward of 90% of respondents would be willing to offer a kidney to a family member in need, and a similar percentage would be willing to accept a living donation if offered, only about half of respondents would feel comfortable initiating a conversation with family members if the respondent was in need of a living donation. Study 2, a survey of Hispanic American patients currently in need of a living kidney donation, revealed that perceived behavioral control accounted for 60% of the variance in future intentions to initiate a conversation among those who have yet to speak to a family member about becoming a living donor. Moreover, perceived behavioral control mediated the relationship between perceived asking appropriateness and future intentions to initiate a conversation. Lastly, recipient outcome expectations, asking appropriateness, and subjective norms were revealed to be predictive of perceived behavioral control. Implications for future living donor interventions focusing on increasing recipient-initiated conversations are discussed.

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