More than nation and knowledge: Cultural micro-diversity and organ donation in Switzerland

Peter J. Schulz, Kent Nakamoto, David Brinberg, Joachim Haes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Objective: While recent studies of organ donation have recognized cultural factors, most analyses in developed countries have focused on awareness as the critical constraint. The present paper examines this assumption and assesses the number of potential organ donors as well as their knowledge and attitudes regarding organ donation. Methods: We conducted a telephone survey of 1509 adults using a stratified random sample of the main three language groups (German, French, and Italian) in Switzerland with oversampling of the Italian language group to compensate for its relatively small size. Because our analyses are performed separately on each language group, the oversampling does not distort our findings. Results: The three language groups display substantial differences with respect to patterns of knowledge, motives, and concerns underlying their willingness to donate organs-differences that persist even in the context of strong national identity, relatively homogeneous cultural background, and the public good nature of organ donation. Conclusion: The results demonstrate a need to consider and address cultural factors and barriers when designing organ donation campaigns. Practice implications: Centrally designed organ donation campaigns are not likely to be effective and efficient. Message strategies should rather be tailored to different (micro-) cultural groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)294-302
Number of pages9
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Dec 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was funded by grant no. 4046-58627 from the Swiss National Science Foundation (National Research Programme 46 “Implants and Transplants”). We thank Hans Mathias Kepplinger for his support.


  • Organ donation
  • Public attitudes
  • Switzerland
  • Transplantation


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