Organ and tissue donor parents’ positive psychological adjustment to grief and bereavement: practical and ethical implications

Tamar Ashkenazi, Nurit Guttman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Organ transplantation from the deceased typically involves requesting close family members’ consent to procure the deceased’s organs. This raises ethical and clinical concerns whether this difficult decision, taken while they are grieving, might have a long-term impact on their adjustment to bereavement. The study employed five measures of bereavement, adjustment and meaning of life (three developed for this study), administered to 216 bereaved Israeli donor and non-donor parents, mainly of deceased adults. The analysis distinguished between organ/tissue donors and donor/non-donors and determination of death (brain/cardiac). No differences were found according to grief measures or method of diagnosing death but donor parents scored higher on ‘life development’, ‘meaning of life after loss’ and ‘personal growth’. Findings suggest the donation process is not associated with a more negative adjustment to bereavement and might have benefited some donor parents in terms of adjustment to loss or meaning of life and growth, in particular those with higher levels of grief. Methodological and practical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-66
Number of pages9
JournalBereavement Care
Volume35
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 3 May 2016

Keywords

  • bereavement adjustment
  • bereavement measures
  • complicated grief
  • ethical issues
  • meaning of life
  • organ donation
  • organ transplantation

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