First Advisor

Vincent Glaudin

Term of Graduation

Spring 1970

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Psychology






Donation of organs tissues etc, Transplantation of organs tissues etc



Physical Description

1 online resource (ix, 79 pages)


While technological advances in immunology and surgery have permitted rapid increases in the number of homotransplantations now performed, little is known about layman’s attitudes toward donation of organs. Implicit in such progress has been the medical field's assumption that enough donor organs will be forthcoming to meet the increasing demand. In order to research this area a dual emphasis on practical and theoretical issues was employed. The purpose of the present study then, was to investigate this medical assumption by sampling the attitudes and behavior of college students toward donation of organs for transplant purposes, and at the same time, to clarify some of the methodological issues resident in attitude research. The following experimental hypothesis was tested: individuals who express positive or negative attitudes toward organ donation, as measured on an attitude scale, behave in a manner consistent with their attitudes, behavior being measured by statements of intention and by behavioral commitment responses.

A Likert-type summated rating scale was developed and utilized as the attitude measuring instrument in the study. A split-half reliability coefficient of .95 and a test-retest reliability of .94 were obtained. A test battery containing the attitude scale, a demographic questionnaire, a social desirability scale and an information test was administered to 389 college students in their classrooms.

The validity study utilized two behavioral indices: 1) behavioral intent statements which were gathered following completion of the test battery, and 2) behavioral commitment responses as obtained in individual interviews. The second criterion involved 100 telephone interviews which took place from six to ten weeks after classroom testing. An additional 20 Ss followed up with personal interviews. Both criteria measures constituted Guttman scales.

Several secondary issues were investigated.

1. As attitude scales have routinely been validated by use of signed behavioral intent statements the effect of anonymity was examined. Of the total number of Ss participating in the test battery 86 were requested to sign the intent statements; all others were anonymously filled out.

2. In order to evaluate any sensitizing effect on behavioral commitment responses, one-half of those Ss participating in the individual interviews had not received any testing in the classroom situation.

3. The Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale was used to control or the effect of social norms on attitude and behavioral scale scores in approval dependent individuals.

4. An information test was incorporated into the test battery to ascertain the relationship between cognition, affect and behavior.

The major results lent strong support to the experimental hypothesis; Ss did tend to behave in a manner consistent with their measured attitudes. Validity coefficients of .38 (attitude and behavioral intent statements), .58 (attitude and behavioral commitment responses) and .64 (composite prediction) suggested that under certain conditions predictive salience can be obtained from attitude scale scores.

With regard to the secondary measures, no significant effects were found for anonymity, pretest sensitization, or social desirability. There was some evidence which suggested a relationship between level of information and attitude; however, the results were not conclusive.

Empirical findings did support the medical supposition that some people at least (i.e., college students) will be favorably disposed toward posthumous organ donation. Twenty percent of those Ss contacted made a substantial commitment. Further research is planned in order to gain normative data on more representative samples of the total population.


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