Ethnic/Racial, Religious, and Demographic Predictors of Organ Donor Registration Status Among Young Adults in the Southwestern United States.

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Context and Setting: New Mexico (NM) is a minority-majority state. Despite its unique cultural characteristics and documented ethnic/racial disparities in deceased organ donation (DOD), past studies did not explore predictors of organ donor registration status (ODRS) in this state.

OBJECTIVES: This study aimed at identifying demographic, cultural, and religious predictors of ODRS among a diverse sample of young adults in NM.

DESIGN: This study focused on recruitment of American Indian, Hispanic, and Asian American participants through online social network sites and university listservs. Participants (N = 602) answered an online survey. The largest racial/ethnic group included American Indians (n = 200). Main outcome measures included ODRS, demographics, religious affiliation, and open-ended question on reasons for objections to DOD.

RESULTS: Race/ethnicity, religion, and educational attainment were significant predictors of ODRS. Non-Hispanic whites (NHWs) were most likely to be registered as donors, with no significant difference between NHWs and Asians or Pacific Islanders. Non-Catholic Christians were most likely to be registered donors, followed by Catholics, practitioners of American Indian/Native American traditional religions, and Hindus, with Buddhists the least likely to register. This pattern was consistent with the propensity of individuals from these religious groups to cite religious objections to DOD. Finally, respondents who had graduated from high schools in NM were 2.3 times less likely to be registered as organ donors compared to those who had graduated in other states.

CONCLUSION: This study provides evidence for the need for culturally tailored interventions targeting diverse communities in NM.