Mary Amanda Dew and Andrea F. DiMartini

in The Oxford Handbook of Health Psychology

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780195342819
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology


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This chapter discusses the health psychology of organ transplantation and the relevance of this field to the broader study of psychological issues in chronic disease. It begins with an overview of the evolution and prevalence of transplantation, and describes the time-line of events that typically occur as patients and prospective living organ donors advance through the transplantation process. Evidence regarding ethnic, gender-related, and other disparities in access to and availability of organ transplantation is reviewed, and strategies undertaken to reduce these disparities are described. Then, from the perspective of the individual transplant recipient, his or her family caregiver, and the living donor, the chapter discusses stressors and psychological and behavioral outcomes associated with each phase of the transplantation (and organ donation) process. General quality of life, mental health, and medical adherence are considered. Intervention strategies to improve these outcomes are discussed. The chapter lists important questions to guide future research.

Keywords: Organ transplantation; organ donation; transplant recipient; living donor; family caregiver; disparities; mental health; medical adherence

Article.  28680 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Health Psychology

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