Altruism is the selfless concern for the wellbeing of others. Multiple researchers have investigated altruism in the general population, but altruism has not been measured in living kidney donors. This study assessed the altruism of 168 living kidney donors, a representative sample from the University of Minnesota Kidney Donor Transplant Program. Three scales measured altruism (Helping Attitudes Scale, Self-Report Altruism Scale, and Altruism and Gift Giving Battery). Participants also responded to items eliciting their suggestions about questions to assess altruism in living kidney donors. Statistical analyses revealed the present sample had significantly higher altruism scores than normative samples on the Helping Attitudes Scale and Self-Report Altruism Scale. There were no significant differences in altruism scores for living related donors (n = 86.5, 62.9, 39.4) versus living unrelated donors (n = 88.5, 66.1, 38.5). Factor analysis of responses to items on the altruism scales yielded four factors: Physical help to stranger; Gifts; Volunteerism rewards; and Risk/ sacrifice in helping. Logistic regression indicated likelihood of being a living unrelated donor increased if participants scored lower on Volunteerism rewards, higher on Risk/sacrifice in helping, and they were older. Content analysis of participants’ responses regarding questions to assess altruism yielded six themes: Questions regarding the donor’s cultural ideas of giving; Questions regarding how much risk and discomfort one is willing to endure for another; Comments regarding personal family obligation or selfish motivation; Questions regarding the donor’s emotional expectations post-donation; Questions regarding the financial and long-term health cost to the donor; and Questions will not capture the true motivation as the decision to donate comes without hesitation. Additional findings and practice, policy and research directions are presented.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. May 2015. Major: Educational Psychology. Advisors: Patricia McCarthy Veach, Caroline Burke. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 104 pages.
An Investigation of the Role of Psychological Altruism in Living Kidney Donors.
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