Religiosity, Anxiety, and Discussions About Organ Donation: Understanding a Complex Systemof Associations

Document Type



Published by Taylor & Francis in Health Communication, volume 24 issue 2, 2009. Bryant users may access this article here.


Taylor & Francis Ltd.

Publication Source

Health Communication


An increasingly large research base on religiosity has shown it to have a buffering effect on anxiety. In a separate vein, scholars interested in organ donation have suggested that both religiosity and anxiety play roles in individuals' willingness to seek information concerning their decisions about organ donations with their family—an event that greatly increases donation rates. This investigation presents 2 studies that examine the associations between religiosity and anxiety (variously measured), on the one hand, and anxiety and individual's information seeking behaviors with family members about organ donation on the other. The first study offers national samples and relies on self-reports, whereas the second study is one of the few organ donation studies to provide observer ratings of interaction between family members on the issue. Results suggest a more complicated role of religiosity with regard to anxiety than previously believed and show a consistent and robust association between anxiety and communication behaviors regarding organ donation. Implications for campaigns are discussed.