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Title: Metaphors of organ donation, social representations of the body and the opt-out system
Authors: Lauri, Mary Anne
Keywords: Social representations
Social perception
Donation of organs, tissues, etc. -- Law and legislation
Donation of organs, tissues, etc. -- Malta
Issue Date: 2009
Publisher: The British Psychological Society
Citation: Lauri, M. A. (2009). Metaphors of organ donation, social representations of the body and the opt‐out system. British Journal of Health Psychology, 14(4), 647-666.
Abstract: Organ donation is the only available treatment for end-stage failure of organs such as liver, lung, and heart and therefore increasing the number of organ donors is a priority for most countries. One measure that could be taken by a country to increase the number of organ transplants is to introduce the opt-out system of organ donation. Public opinion is divided on this issue and policy makers need to tread with caution before introducing legislation. This paper proposes that understanding the social representations the public has of organ donation is important in taking the right policy decisions. We propose here that an in-depth study of the views held by people on the issue is essential in this regard and that this can best be done by investigating the metaphors people use to describe organ donation, interpreted within the theory of social representation. In this study, the social representations of organ donation were investigated through five focus groups with 57 participants living in Malta. Analysis of the transcriptions of these focus groups yielded pertinent issues related to organ donation. Moreover, metaphors of organ donations and how these were related to social representations of the body and attitudes towards the opt-out system are discussed. It is being suggested that these findings could be of relevance to the present discussion on the opt-out system in the UK and in other countries.
Appears in Collections:Scholarly Works - CenLit

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