including issues around chronic disease and disparities in access
to health care,” says Mary Amanda Dew, PhD, a psychologist at
registration rates, Siegel and Alvaro developed the “IIFF Model”
of organ donor registration behavior. The model suggests that
the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Medical
four factors can directly increase donor registration:
1. An immediate and complete opportunity for registration,
Psychologists are also evaluating potential recipients for
by offering the chance to enroll in the state donor registry, for
transplants to ensure candidates have the support they need
to follow strict post-transplant lifestyles. And psychological
2. The provision of information about registration
researchers are studying the factors that appear to help some
availability, procedures and religion-based objections.
patients live longer than others.
3. Focused engagement, asking potential donors for their
“The medical community is very new to — but also very
reasons for not registering.
embracing of — the role that psychologists can play” in this
4. Favorable activation, stimulated through a group
area, says Larissa Myaskovsky, PhD, a social psychologist at the
discussion designed to confirm pro-donation beliefs and
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine who studies the
debunk anti-donation myths.
effects of discrimination on organ transplantation. “There are
In an evaluation of a pilot program using the model published
so many avenues that are rich for this work.”
in Psychology: Health and Medicine (Vol. 15, No. 2), researchers
reported that nearly 50 percent of the study’s 131 focus group
increasing donor registration
participants, who had been screened ahead of time to be “passive-
Why aren’t more Americans signed up to donate their organs?
positives,” signed donor cards at the end of the intervention.
Claremont Graduate University health psychologist Jason
“Extrapolated to the general population, such a finding
Siegel, PhD, says it might just come down to low motivation.
could result in millions of new registrants and greatly improve
“This is something that people can put off, literally, until
the frequency of life-saving transplants,” Siegel says.
they die,” says Siegel, co-editor with colleague Eusebio Alvaro,
Other psychologists are working to increase organ donor
PhD, of “Understanding Organ Donation: Applied Behavioral
registration by bringing empirically tested educational
Science Perspectives” ( Wiley-Blackwell, 2010).
interventions to workplaces. University of Chicago social
To combat this ambivalence and increase organ donation
psychologist Michael Quinn, PhD, found, for example,
that people who attended brief
educational sessions where they were
given information on the need for
Focus on Trauma
organ donation, heard the stories of a
transplant recipient and the family of a
posthumous organ donor, and then were
Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorders
in Special Populations
A Cognitive Restructuring Program
Kim T. Mueser, Stanley D. Rosenberg, and Harriet J. Rosenberg
2009. 404 pages. Hardcover.
List: $69.95 • APA Member/Affiliate: $49.95 • ISBN 978-1-4338-0464-9 • Item 4317195
provided specific instruction on how
to become an organ donor were almost
twice as likely to sign up for donations
compared with a control group that
attended a health fair and received
brochures on the topic. (Progress in
Helping Families and Communities
Recover From Disaster
Lessons Learned from Hurricane Katrina and Its Aftermath
Edited by Ryan P. Kilmer, Virginia Gil-Rivas, Richard G. Tedeschi,
and Lawrence G. Calhoun
2010. 340 pages. Hardcover.
List: $69.95 • APA Member/Affiliate: $49.95 • ISBN 978-1-4338-0544-8 • Item 4316114
Transplantation Vol. 16, No. 3.)
These types of community and
workplace-based programs may provide
the greatest promise in improving organ
donation rates, says Mary Ganikos,
PhD, public and professional education
chief of the U.S. Health Resources and
Helping Children Cope With Disasters
Edited by Annette M. La Greca, Wendy K. Silverman, Eric M. Vernberg,
and Michael C. Roberts
2002. 446 pages. Hardcover.
List: $49.95 • APA Member/Affiliate: $39.95 • ISBN 978-1-55798-914-7 • Item 431794A
Services Administration Division of
Transplantation, which funds grant
programs focusing on organ donation
and partners with public and private
organizations throughout the country
to promote awareness of the need for
www.apa.org/books • 800-374-2721
“We basically reach out to institutions
where people work, worship, study and