Transplant Trial Watch

Circumventing the "Ick" Factor: A Randomized Trial of the Effects of Omitting Affective Attitudes Questions to Increase Intention to Become an Organ Donor.

Doherty S, Dolan E, et al.

Frontiers in Psychology 2017; 8: 1443.

To examine whether including or omitting certain affective attitude items effects the intention of non-donors to donate or accept an organ donor card.

Members of the public were approached in four shopping centres across Ireland and surveyed on their attitudes to organ donation. Non-donors were randomly assigned to one of three groups. Group 1 completed the whole questionnaire which included items on affective and cognitive attitudes, anticipated regret, intention, subjective norm and perceived behavioural control. Group 2 completed the questionnaire with the omission of 16 affective attitude items, and group 3 completed the questionnaire with the omission of 12 negatively worded affective attitude items.

578 members of the public aged ≥ 18 years-old participated in the survey and 349 were defined as non-donors.

The primary outcome measured was intention to donate. The secondary outcome measured was taking a donor card after the interview.

Completion of the questionnaire

CET Conclusions
The design of the study was a cross-sectional survey with subgroup nested single-blind randomized trial. The aim of the study was to examine attitudes to organ donation in Ireland and whether omitting affective attitudes items from a questionnaire has an impact on the intention to donate or acceptance of an organ donor card in non-donors. No a priori sample size calculation was conducted. Adult members of the public were recruited by four medical students in four shopping centres and were randomised by a computer generated sequence without concealment of allocation to: (1) replication group who completed the entire questionnaire (n=113); (2) group who completed the questionnaire except for 16 affective attitudes items (n=119); (3) group who completed the questionnaire except for 12 negatively worded affective attitude items (n=117). A donor card was accepted by 48% of all participants. The results showed that removing affective attitudinal items from questionnaires may lead to a higher intention to donate, and marginally higher rates of acceptance of donor cards. There were several potential biases associated with the sampling method. The outcomes can help to design public health campaigns for organ donation.

Jadad score

Data analysis
Per protocol analysis

Allocation concealment

Trial registration

Funding source
Non-industry funded