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Does organ donation legislation affect individuals' willingness to donate their own or their relative's organs?: evidence from European Union survey data

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Background Maintaining adequately high organ donation rates proves essential to offering patients all appropriate and available treatment options. However, the act of donation is in itself an individual decision that requires a depth of understanding that interacts with the social setting and the institutional framework into which an individual is embedded. This study contributes to understanding factors driving organ donation rates by examining how country regulation, individuals' awareness of regulatory setting, social interactions and socio-demographic determinants influence individuals' willingness to donate their own organs or those of a relative. Methods We draw representative data from the Eurobarometer survey 58.2 undertaken in 2002 with respondents throughout the European Union to capture heterogeneity in institutional setting. We use logistic regression techniques to estimate the determinants of willingness to donate one's own organs and those of a deceased relative. We employ interaction terms to examine the relationship between institutional setting and respondent's awareness of organ donation legislation in their country. Results Our findings indicate that individuals are more likely to donate their organs than to consent to the donation of a relative's organs. Both decisions are affected by regulation (presumed consent), awareness of regulation and social interactions such as the ability to count on others in case of a serious problem (reciprocity). Furthermore, education (more educated), age (younger), expressing some sort of political affiliation determine willingness to donate one's own organs and consent to the donation of those of a relative. Conclusion This study confirms and develops further previous research findings that presumed consent organ donation policy positively affects the willingness of individuals to donate their own organs and those of relative by highlighting the importance of awareness of this regulation and an individual's level of social interactions in making choices about donation. Results found using interaction terms underline the importance of population awareness of organ donation legislation as well as the legislation type itself. Findings also point to the role of social interactions in influencing individuals' willingness to donate their organs or those of a relative.

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en

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application/pdf

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/25569/1/Does_organ_donation_legislation_affect_individuals%27_willingness_to_donate_their_own_or_their_relative%27s_organs_%28LSERO_version%29.pdf

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