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Study: Personal contacts at work help people better understand organ donation
Date:12/13/2010

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Face-to-face workplace interactions may be the best way to educate and encourage people to consider becoming organ donors, according to new research from Purdue University.

"Workplaces are a key location for people to learn about health and wellness issues, but how information is distributed in this setting can make a difference for sensitive health topics such as organ donation," said Susan E. Morgan, a professor of communication. "There is an incredible amount of misinformation and medical mistrust surrounding the organ donation process, which is often fueled by inaccurate story lines in entertainment media. Common misperceptions include that favoritism is shown for potential recipients and people who register to be donors will receive lower-quality care.

"We found that people who had a chance to discuss the topic and their misgivings with others were more likely to sign up compared to those who just read about organ donation in a brochure distributed at their workplace."

The findings are published in this issue of Communication Monographs.

Morgan and her research team coordinated campaigns for organ donation through the New Jersey Workplace Partnership for Life project at 45 businesses that ranged from 100-3,200 employees. The 10-week campaigns either consisted of a more traditional low-intensity approach, which is common in most work settings, a high-intensity approach or a control group.

In the low-intensity campaign, employees only received information from sources such as in internal newsletters, brochures or phone messages left on their voicemail systems. The high-intensity approach utilized low-intensity strategies along with on-site visits from organ procurement staff. A control group also was observed, and 9,477 employees completed pre-and/or post-campaign surveys related to their beliefs on organ donation.

"The interpersonal interactions also were valuable because the
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Contact: Amy Patterson Neubert
apatterson@purdue.edu
765-494-9723
Purdue University
Source:Eurekalert

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