Select Committee on European Union Minutes of Evidence


APPENDIX 1

PROMOTING THE ORGAN DONOR CARD—AN EXPERIMENTAL STUDY

  (Paper at the International Society of Critical Health Psychology (ISCHP) Symposium on Organ Donation and Transplantation, Boston, USA, 18-21 July, 2007).

AUTHORS:

  Gundula Huebner, Bernd Six

AFFILIATION:

  Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Department of Psychology, Germany

CONTACT:

  Gundula Huebner

Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg
Department of Psychology
D-06099 Halle/Saale
Phone: 0049/(0)345/55    —24372
Fax:        —27061
Email: g.huebner@psych.uni-halle.de

ABSTRACT:

  Empathy arousal is regarded as essential for altruistic behaviour. However, using empathic cues to stimulate organ donation commitment might be two folded. Becoming a potential post mortem donor means accepting one's own mortality. Therefore, being confronted with the distress of organ donation patients might stimulate mortality salience. Referring to the Terror Management Theory mortality salience activates fears of death and dying. Thus, mortality salience is likely to heighten the salience of fears negatively connected to organ donation, such as premature declaration of death. The present research tested the role of empathic cues in stimulating organ donation commitment. We compared an empathic cue message to messages providing their audience with fear reducing information. In the experiment 320 persons participated who had not signed an organ donor card before. Results revealed that the empathic cue message led to significantly higher anti donation attitudes and lower intentions to sign an organ donor card compared to messages including fear reducing information. Furthermore, reading the empathic cue message resulted in significantly less frequent organ donor card request. The results implicate that trust in the medical system is more important than stimulating empathy to promote the organ donor card.



 
previous page contents next page

House of Lords home page Parliament home page House of Commons home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2008