Differences in attitudes toward organ donation among African Americans and whites in the United States. Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • The availability of organs within the African-American population has been an on-going issue. Historically, African Americans donate organs at a much lower rate than whites. Thus, this study was designed to compare general attitudes between African Americans, whites, and other minorities concerning the issue of organ donation and to identify the factors that hamper African Americans from becoming organ donors. We conducted a 12-question survey of 249 African Americans, 492 whites, and a category of others defining themselves as 71 Asians, 23 Hispanics, 22 Native Americans, and 35 unknowns for a total sample of 892. Samples were taken from six United States cities. Thirty-eight percent of African Americans stated they would not donate organs, compared to 10% of whites. When asked why not, African Americans stated "personal reasons" followed by "if I am an organ donor I won't get the necessary medical attention" as their top choices. Whites chose "religious reasons" followed by "organs may be taken before I am dead" as their top choices. African Americans were more concerned with getting proper medical treatment as opposed to whites, who worried their organs might be taken before their death. Regarding family discussion pertaining to organ donation, 66% of African Americans stated no discussion. Whites had a 46% rate for no family discussion. Regarding trust of doctors, 46% of African Americans expressed lack of trust for doctors, with 23% of whites expressing lack of trust for doctors. The results of this study point to the areas that must be given more focus by African-American health care providers and educators.

publication date

  • October 2001