Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Social aspects of the organ donation in Slovenia: Analysis of the stimulating and inhibitory factors for designing programs to achieve behavioural change

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
5.03.00  Social sciences  Sociology   

Code Science Field
S210  Social sciences  Sociology 

Code Science Field
5.04  Social Sciences  Sociology 
Health, illness, organ and tissue transplantation and donation, stimulative and inhibitory factors, behavioural change
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (13)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  30704  PhD Jernej Berzelak  Public health (occupational safety)  Researcher  2016 - 2018  124 
2.  37694  MSc Maja Jančič  Economics  Researcher  2018  91 
3.  19176  PhD Helena Jeriček Klanšček  Public health (occupational safety)  Researcher  2016 - 2018  404 
4.  22221  PhD Tanja Kamin  Sociology  Head  2016 - 2018  501 
5.  28323  PhD Matic Kavčič  Sociology  Researcher  2016 - 2018  125 
6.  29896  MSc Anja Kolak  Political science  Technical associate  2016 - 2018  25 
7.  33878  Urška Kolar  Sociology  Researcher  2016 - 2018  24 
8.  23827  PhD Bojana Lobe  Political science  Researcher  2016  191 
9.  19074  PhD Gregor Petrič  Sociology  Researcher  2016 - 2018  262 
10.  22821  PhD Saška Roškar  Psychiatry  Researcher  2017 - 2018  364 
11.  04998  PhD Mirjana Ule  Sociology  Researcher  2016 - 2018  879 
12.  27578  PhD Andreja Vezovnik  Culturology  Researcher  2016 - 2018  248 
13.  32859  PhD Andreja Živoder  Social sciences  Researcher  2016 - 2018  73 
Organisations (2)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0582  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Social Sciences  Ljubljana  1626957  40,364 
2.  3333  National Institut of Public Health  Ljubljana  6462642  18,738 
Transplantation as a form of medical treatment is making substantial progress, both in terms of patient survival after transplantation, but also in terms of new transplantation methods. The expansion of organ transplantation as an increasingly successful medical treatment results in greater unbalance between organs available for procurement and the number of people waiting for transplantation. Demand for viable organs has grown exponentially in the last decades and donation rates have not kept pace with the demand, leading to an increasing number of deaths, as for many chronic heart, lung and liver patients transplantation is still the only chance of survival. In Slovenia there are currently 245 patients waiting on transplantation list for donation that will both extend their life expectancy and significantly improve their quality of life; in 2013 alone 10 people died in Slovenia while awaiting transplantation, as their disease progressed beyond the point at which transplantation was possible. Transplantation treatment can reach its potential only when society openly accepts it and when the number of people who are willing to donate their organs after their death is consistent with the demand for transplantable organs. Although more than half of Slovenes agree with organ and tissue transplantation as a form of medical treatment and even indicate their intention to donate organs and tissue after their death or to give next-of-kin consent for the donation. Only 0.22 % of the Slovenian population has registered as a potential organ donor. In general attitudes towards organ donation are rather positive, yet behaviour does not appear to have followed such positive attitudes. Since there is no research touching upon the issue we do not have a proper understanding of this gap. Centrally designed organ donation campaigns are not likely to be effective and efficient and this fact is further demonstrating that there is no efficient promotion of post-mortem organ donation without understanding of pro-donation and anti-donation factors in particular society.   Therefore, this project aims to take the challenge to find ways to narrow the gap between organ demand and supply under the precondition that organ transplantation remains totally voluntary. The project aims at providing in-depth knowledge about factors that influence willingness to donate organs and understanding of the discrepancy between the expressed willingness, intention and actual behaviour related to organ and tissue donation. The main goal of the project is to explore, problematize and provide in-depth knowledge on social aspects of the organ donation in Slovenia. This will be achieved through a detailed analysis of the barriers to and incentives for postmortem organ and tissue donation followed by recommendations for programs designed to achieve behavioural change (more discussion about organ donation with family members and more donors) in the Slovenian population. The understanding of barriers and incentives will be obtained by quantitative representative survey conducted on the general population of Slovenia, qualitative in-depth interviews with medical experts, online communities moderators and health journalists and focus groups with general public and with specific segments/groups of segmented population as well as the analysis of mass media and social media discourses shaping the public opinion, peoples’ believes and information on organ and tissue donation.  In addition the project will focus on developing recommendations and guidelines for the development of programs for behaviour change in the field of organ and tissue donation, which will inform the efficient and effective promotion of organ and tissue donation in a way that acknowledges Slovenian cultural and social context of organ donation.
Significance for science
Contribution to the development of the field of sociology of medicine and health, as well as interdisciplinary research of public health Meanings of health and illness and health related behaviour expand beyond the medical field. Thus medicine needs to be assisted in its advancement and promotion of its new methods by other disciplines, mostly social sciences. With regard to health-related behaviours healthcare enters other borderline fields of sciences and knowledge. Sociology of medicine is expanding issues of health and disease from questions on symptoms and signs of disease and dealing with them to the question, why do people become and remain ill. Such an approach to the patient and disease opens up a whole new range of dilemmas; societal, social, pertaining to identity and values. This project demonstrates that in order to understand these dilemmas, we must undertake the analysis of medical phenomenon and healthcare procedures in relation to the modes of everyday life, practices, social relations and values.   Contribution to the development of the field of sociology of medical ethics Sociology of medical ethics is not a critique of the institutionalized medical ethics, rather a development of a specifically sociological understanding of medical ethics and practice. Sociology tends to moral conventionalism, namely ethical appraisal of the consequences of actions, whereas medical ethics leans toward deontology, ethical appraisal of individual actions, no matter what their consequences might be. Sociological ethic in medicine stems from ethical universalism, while medical ethics stems from ethical individualism. Sociology of medical ethics related to organ donation that can contribute to the reflection of manifold modern ethical dimensions in health care.   Contribution to the development of other fields of science Contribution to the sociological and psychological research of factors of pro-social behaviour and orientation in examples of organ donation and motivation for it.   Development of qualitative methodology and discourse studies   Research of the organ donation phenomenon in various segments of population and in the media will prove beneficial for development of qualitative methods in sociological and social psychology research in Slovenia.   Contribution to the development of transplant medicine, which will be able to take under consideration cultural, social and psychological aspects of organ and tissue transplantation. Development of transplantation treatments and related industries involved primarily in the postoperative treatment of patients after receiving an organ or tissue (eg. the pharmaceutical industry and pharmacology).   The survey results will be useful for (graduate and postgraduate) studies of the solidarity practices in Slovenia (social psychology, sociology of everyday life, social work).
Significance for the country
Contribution to the development of healthcare in social welfare policies in Slovenia Demographic transition that lead to aging population means dependence of ever greater proportion of the society on social and healthcare institutions, which are held accountable for growing social and healthcare problems. Public’ attention and policies’ focus in turning towards new social health issues, which ageing of the population brings to the forefront.   Aid in treatment of severely ill and their return to social and productive life For improvements in the developments of rapid medical assistance to the persons in urgent need of organ transplantation.   For improvement of legal and institutional frame of organ donation in Slovenia Number of institutions dealing with health care is increasing; government departments, ministries, parliament, legal services, social security, insurance companies, ombudsmen, ethics committees, scientific research institutions, etc. This means that medicine alone is no longer a "sovereign" ruler of its field. It must accept equal cooperation with other institutions, departments, social roles, skills and practices.   Laying the groundwork for tailored campaigns leading to behaviour change One of the project’s outputs are guidelines and recommendations for organ donation’ promotion programs, including campaigns for awareness and behaviour change which are expected to produce results on several levels: greater social visibility of potential organ donors and their better social reputation, awareness and sensibilization of the public to forms of treatment with transplantation of organs and tissues, increasing the number of posthumous donation of organs and tissues, empowerment of patients treated with the help of transplant medicine and guidelines for media framing of the donation of organs and tissues for media organizations.
Most important scientific results Interim report, final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Interim report, final report
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