Attitudes and beliefs within the Sikh community regarding organ donation: A pilot study

Catherine Exley, Julius Sim, Norma G. Reid, Simon Jackson, Nick West

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The current shortage of organs for transplantation is a matter of considerable concern in the United Kingdom (U.K.). Whilst issues of histocompatibility create particular problems in this respect for the Asian population in the U.K., it is sometimes suggested that there is also a resistance to the idea of organ transplantation among this comunity. To explore this issue, a small-scale interview study was conducted in Coventry among members of the Sikh community. A judgemental sample of 22 individuals, from different strata of the local Sikh community, were interviewed either in one-to-one interviews or in a focus group. These interviews had two broad aims: to determine the prevailing attitudes towards organ transplantation, and to gauge the impact and acceptability of the current Department of Health campaign literature. It was found that, whilst there were a number of misgivings to do with notions of mutilation and reincarnation, and anxieties as to technical or clinical aspects of the transplantation process, the prevailing view was supportive of transplantation, and organ donation was seen as a highly appropriate means of exhibiting the altruistic tradition within Sikhism. Such barriers that exist to the idea of transplantation seem to have more to do with knowledge and understanding than with cultural or religious factors. Concerning the campaign literature, informants identified a number of shortcomings, and indicated ways in which the impact of the leaflets and posters might be enhanced. Although the generalizability of these findings is limited, and despite possible threats to the validity of the data collected, this study has produced findings with significant implications for future policy in this area.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-28
Number of pages6
JournalSocial Science & Medicine
Volume43
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 1996

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