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J Health Soc Behav. 1993 Dec;34(4):285-301.

The self-image of unrelated bone marrow donors.

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University of Pittsburgh, PA.


This study investigated the self-image of individuals who donate bone marrow to strangers as part of the National Marrow Donor Program. Quantitative surveys were administered to donors before donating (N = 849), shortly after donating (N = 754), and a year after donating (N = 370). In addition, 52 donors were interviewed in-depth by telephone at the same three points in time. Many of these donors felt that by donating bone marrow they were actualizing a central trait in their identity. Thus, many donors believed that they were distinct from others in the centrality of the traits of helpfulness and generosity to their identities. This belief often stemmed from a strong emphasis on helping in their families of origin. Other qualities activated by donation included religious identity, being a helping professional, and desire to be a role model. Self-evaluation appeared to have been enhanced for some donors due to the donation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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