Archives of Transplantation

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The Impact of Religion and Spirituality on the Living Kidney Donation Process

Objective: Living kidney donors have altruistic personality traits, often including religiosity and/or spirituality. There have been no pre- and post-donation studies to determine the psychosocial impact of organ donation on the living donor, nor the impact of R/S on this experience.

Methods: This study provided pre- (1 month) and post-donation (6 months) questionnaires to living kidney donors, including the hospital anxiety and depression scale (HADS), the SF-36 functional assessment and novel questions regarding the donation process.

Results: Complete data were obtained from 157 donors. The donors were primarily female, older, educated, married and employed. R/S was self-reported by 81% of donors, and 64% reported that R/S contributed to the decision to donate. Overall, 80% of donors reported the use of prayer to alleviate concerns, and 56% consulted with clergy. R/S and non-R/S patients had statistically similar levels of anxiety and depression pre- and post-donation. These two groups did not differ in functional status or quality of life.

Conclusions: These results suggest that R/S plays an important role for a large percentage of living organ donors, but that the R/S and non-R/S patients had a similar donation experience with minimal anxiety and depression, with excellent return to their daily routine and with psychologic resiliency.

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