Thursday, January 17, 2013

Students and faculty present, "Development of a Human Organ Donation Data Base and Student Research Practicum" at Fielding's Winter Session 2013

Michele Harway, Faculty, School of Psychology; Maureen Lassen, Faculty, School of Psychology; Sommer Bergdale, Student, School of Psychology; Brittany Bilbrey, Student, School of Psychology; Leslie Carrion, Student, School of Psychology; Leah Kenyon George, Student, School of Psychology; Jackie Fulcher, Student, School of Psychology; Marie Helene Gosselin, Student, School of Psychology; Gloria Krause, Student, School of Psychology; Stacie Papineau, Student, School of Psychology

This project consists of the development of a large multi-faceted data base to allow researchers to study the various aspects of organ donation. Multiple perspectives will eventually include the recipients, donor and family members. Unfortunately large numbers of people in need of organs die every year waiting for a donation. Although an estimated 12,000 people die every that could be donors, less than half make the decision to donate. Wolfe et al. (2009) reported that voluntary donation has been decreasing over time especially for certain kinds of donations. Research suggests that a better understanding of the attitudes underlying the decision to donate or not as well as the characteristics of donors and family members is crucial to enhancing the organ donation process. What was explored in this study was the process of organ donation and the barriers to donation.

In this preliminary study, 124 members of the general public who were dubbed “prospective organ donors” were surveyed regarding attitudes toward donation and a number of psychological factors (including altruism) which were hypothesized as being related to the willingness to donate an organ. The study in question is part of a larger study of organ donors, recipients and members of the general public and data collection is still ongoing. For this preliminary study, participants were contacted through the Fielding Graduate University’s network of students, faculty and staff and represent a convenience sample.

This research was supported by a research grant from Fielding Graduate University.

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