Psychological Aspects of Organ Donation: A Critical Review and Synthesis of Individual and Next-of-Kin Donation Decisions

Carmen M. Radecki, James Jaccard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

164 Scopus citations


This article presents a critical review of psychological perspectives on organ donation. The review considers individual decisions to donate organs posthumously and next-of-kin consent decisions. A theoretical analysis of intention to donate is presented for both types of donation decisions, and the literature is reviewed within the context of the proposed framework. Donation decisions are examined as a function of attitude toward donation and the religious, cultural, altruistic, normative, and knowledge-based beliefs that comprise the attitude. Consent decisions are primarily influenced by prior knowledge of the deceased individual's wishes. An alternative conceptual model is offered to explain the basis of consent decisions in the absence of this knowledge. Suggestions are offered to improve measurement strategy and to guide theoretically based organ donation research within selected disciplines of psychology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-195
Number of pages13
JournalHealth Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1997



  • Attitude
  • Next-of-kin
  • Organ donation
  • Posthumous
  • Review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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