By Zoe Martina Siegel

95 percent of Americans subscribe to believing in organ donation; however, only 40 percent of qualified donors actually register. Dr. Jason T. Siegel, PhD, a lead researcher of Claremont Graduate University, has found that there is a significant difference between people who feel strongly about organ donation and people who feel strongly about signing up as a donor. Why is there a large variance between the attitudes and actions of organ donations?

Siegel analyzed an experiment in which this difference is explored. Of a total of 516 people who participated in the survey, 358 people completed an online survey while 158 college students completed a paper survey in their class. For the online part, specific attitudes were 75 percent more predictive of registration than general attitudes. For the paper survey, specific attitudes were 150 percent more predictive of registration than general attitudes. It was found that those who were sure about signing up as organ donor were more likely to follow through than those who supported the general idea of organ donation. More importantly, there was a chance for every participant to register as a donor once the survey was complete and only 13 percent of the students completed the registration forms.

Simple questions were asked in order to understand people’s overall feeling about organ donation and their willingness to become a donor. Their responses were rated on a sequence from positive to negative. Siegel concluded, “Positive attitudes are often not enough on their own to increase donor registration rates. Often what people need is ready access to a registration form.”

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