The role of motivational and legal contexts in understanding support for tissue donation across 27 European countries

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There is a mismatch between attitudinal support for tissue donation and its translation into behavioural action (i.e. become registered donor). The legal and motivational context around tissue donation may contribute to better understanding of this mismatch.

Data were extracted from the Eurobarometer 82.2 survey (2014). Data included socio-demographic characteristics, motivations underlying attitudes to tissue donation and the legal context within which donation was considered (opt-in and opt-out consent). The sample was partitioned based on contextual information and seemingly unrelated bivariate probit regressions were used to explore the relationship between passive and active support for tissue donation.

Approximately 56% of 25 879 respondents stated a willingness to donate tissue after death (passive support) and 9.1% reported that they were a registered donor (active support). We found evidence of unobserved heterogeneity between active and passive support across contexts. Our findings suggest that contexts in which altruistic motives can be supported by self-interest may increase the probability of converting passive to active support. Factors associated with increased support for tissue donation included: higher levels of education; good knowledge of the healthcare system; confidence in the safety of tissue donation; readiness to be a tissue recipient and knowing a recipient of donated tissue.

Our findings demonstrate the value of examining active and passive support for tissue donation together within specific contexts. This more nuanced approach affords clearer insights that may help to guide policy makers confronted with apparently conflicting evidence around strategies intended to promote organ and tissue donation.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberckaa148
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Early online date07 Oct 2020
Publication statusEarly online date - 07 Oct 2020


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