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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 274-281

The empathy factor: The role of empathy in knowledge, attitude, and practice of organ donation in India - A crossectional, observational study

1 Department of Liberal Arts, Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
2 Department of Science and Humanities, Indian Institute of Information Technology, Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu, India
3 Department of Biomedical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
4 Indian Council of Medical Research, Regional Medical Research Centre, Bhubaneshwar, Odisha, India
5 Department of Nephrology, Star Hospitals, Hyderabad, Telangana, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Mahati Chittem
Department of Liberal Arts, Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad, Telangana
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijot.ijot_64_21

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Background: Due to the scarcity of organs available for transplantation, several patients lose their lives each year. Increased awareness and positive attitudes alone may be insufficient to increase an individual's willingness to donate (i.e., the basic tenets of the knowledge-attitude-practice/KAP model). Therefore, it is pertinent to examine other psychological determinants that are associated with engaging in the altruistic/prosocial act of organ donation. Objective: To understand the association between empathy and KAP of organ donation in an Indian population. This pilot is the precursor to a larger project which aims to develop and test an empathy intervention to promote organ donation. Methods: Using a cross-sectional design, Indians (N = 419; female = 261; mean age = 28.48 years) aged 18 years and above were recruited using convenience sampling through an online survey. Questionnaires included the Awareness, Attitudes, and Practice of Organ Donation (Chakradhar et al., 2016) and Empathy Quotient-8 (Loewen et al., 2010). Multiple regression analyses were carried out to analyze the data. Results: Results showed that empathy was related to: (i) Total KAP (β = 0.123, P = 0.014), and (ii) attitudes (β = 0.195, P < 0.001) towards organ donation. Conclusion: These pilot study findings indicate that public health messages focused on evoking empathy can use the technique of patient/donor narratives, and training clinicians on empathic communication skills can help increase individuals' KAP of organ donation. Further, this pilot elucidated the need to conduct mixed-method studies with a donor and nondonor population and clinicians prior to developing and testing a larger empathy-centered intervention aimed at promoting the KAP of organ donation.

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