Spirituality and religiosity of non-directed (altruistic) living kidney donors

Ariella Maghen, Grecia B. Vargas, Sarah E. Connor, Sima Nassiri, Elisabeth M. Hicks, Lorna Kwan, Amy D. Waterman, Sally L. Maliski, Jeffrey L. Veale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Aims and objectives: To describe the spirituality and religiosity of 30 non-directed (altruistic) living kidney donors in the USA and explore how they may have affected their motivations to donate and donation process experiences. Background: The rise in non-directed donors and their ability to initiate kidney chains offer a novel approach to help alleviate the overextended kidney transplant wait list in the USA. However, little is known about the non-directed donors’ motivations, characteristics and experiences. Design: We conducted a qualitative-dominant study and used a grounded theory approach to analyse data. Methods: Thirty participants completed in-depth interviews between April 2013–April 2015. Three analysts independently read and coded interview transcripts. Grounded theory techniques were used to develop descriptive categories and identify topics related to the non-directed donors donation experience. Results: Sixteen of the 30 non-directed donorss discussed the topic of spirituality and religiosity when describing their donation experiences, regardless of whether they were actively practising a religion at the time of donation. Specifically, three themes were identified within spirituality and religiosity: motivation to donate, support in the process, and justification of their donation decisions postdonation. Conclusions: Findings from this study are the first to describe how spirituality and religiosity influenced the experiences of U.S. non-directed donorss and may help improve non-directed donors educational resources for future spiritual or religious non-directed donors, and the overall non-directed donors donation experience in efforts to increase the living donor pool. Relevance to clinical practice: Spirituality and religiosity are often overlooked yet potentially influential factors in Western medicine, as demonstrated through the experiences of Jehovah's Witnesses and their religious restrictions while undergoing surgery and the beliefs of Christian Scientists against taking medications and receiving medical procedures. Understanding needs of non-directed donors specifically with spirituality and religiosity can better position kidney transplant centres and teams to improve predonation screening of non-directed donor candidates and provide support services during the donation process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1662-1672
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - Apr 2018


  • beliefs
  • decision-making
  • grounded theory
  • health services research
  • qualitative study
  • transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


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