Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Stephen Auerbach


The present study examined the interpersonal process during tissue donation requests and evaluated demographic and interpersonal/behavioral predictors of consent or refusal to donate. One hundred and two audiorecordings of tissue donation requests were evaluated using several different observer measures of interpersonal behavior and decision making. Results showed that tissue requesters (TRs) and next-of-kin (NOKs) tended to match one another’s level of affiliation, and complemented one another on interpersonal dominance. TRs infrequently used negative or disapproving statements during the request, but when they did NOKs were less friendly, more disapproving, and more likely to express concern. Overall there were few differences in interpersonal behavior as a function of demographic variables, however female NOKs and those with more education were perceived as more affiliative, and TRs with more experience used more statements of approval and support during requests than those with less experience. There were also few differences in interpersonal behavior related to gender or race “match” between TRs and NOKs. Consistent with hypotheses, results showed significant correlations between positive/collaborative behavior of the TR and NOK. Logistic regressions were used to examine predictors of consent or refusal to donate. NOKs were more likely to consent to donation when they were themselves more willing to donate their own tissues or organs, and when TRs did not use negative/disapproving statements, asked fewer questions, were more supportive, and discussed with NOKs that donation would not result in mutilation or significant change to the deceased’s body. The findings suggest that each interactant’s interpersonal behavior during tissue donation requests elicits certain responses from the other, and that some interpersonal variables significantly predict the NOKs donation decision. The findings indicate that training for tissue requesters that addresses interpersonal behavior and discussion of certain key topics may impact consent rates.


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Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

September 2011