The potential role of social capital in the willingness to be a deceased organ donor: a case study of UK Polish migrants
AffiliationUniversity of Bedfordshire
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AbstractBackground In the United Kingdom, the demand for transplantable organs exceeds supply, leaving many patients on the active transplant waiting list with the majority on dialysis as the kidney is the most commonly transplanted organ. This is a marked issue across black, Asian, and minority ethnic communities. This article uses the Polish migrant community as a case study for making new theoretical insights into the willingness to become an organ donor in a host country using social capital theory. Methods There were 31 participants who took part in interviews and small group discussions. Grounded theory methodology was used as the study explored the relationships between deceased organ donation, religion, and Mauss's gift-exchange theory and the notion of social capital arose as an emergent theme from the study. Results Elements of social capital were explored with participants such as social networks, civil engagement, trust, and reciprocity. Polish social networks were found to be small and the formation of networks to be influenced by English language skills. Participants were willing to donate organs to others inside and outside of their social networks in the United Kingdom and wanted to help a patient in need and influenced by the overall migrant experience in the United Kingdom and whether they felt a sense of belonging. Overall, participants had mixed experiences and views about trust in the National Health Service. Conclusions Through a discussion of the results using a communitarian social capital, cognitive and structural social capital lens, and collective-action theory, it is concluded that an interplay of these social capital theories can reframe debates within organ donation such as reciprocity policies, the relevancy of altruism, and the role of migration experiences and networks in the willingness to donate organs posthumously in a host country.
CitationSharp C., Randhawa G. (2016) 'The potential role of social capital in the willingness to be a deceased organ donor: a case study of UK Polish migrants', Transplantation Proceedings, 48 (3), pp.680-688.
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