Tools for the Measurement of Psychological Aspects of Organ Donation among the Families of Brain-dead People

S Ahmadian, M Khaghanizadeh, M H Zarghami, E Khaleghi, A Ebadi


Background: According to the basic ethical principle of non-maleficence, organ procurement systems need to be accountable to donor families. As organ donation can be potentially traumatic, donor families are at risk of developing psychological damage. Appropriate measurement tools are needed to diagnose such disorders and develop appropriate treatment measures.

Objective: To examine the appropriateness of measurement tools and approaches used in previous studies for assessing donor families’ psychological well-being.

Methods: A structured online search was conducted in electronic databases namely ScienceDirect, PubMed, ProQuest, Scopus, Ovid, and Web of Science. The main inclusion criterion was the use of psychological assessment tools for data collection.

Results: 10 studies were included in which different tools had been used for measuring donor families’ psychological well-being in the following 5 dimensions: stress, depression, grief, general health, and positive legacy of trauma. The major pitfalls of the reviewed studies were failure to specifically assess complicated grief and differentiating it from other psychological disorders, diversity of the tools used for psychological well-being assessment, and lack of clear definitions of donor families’ psychological wellbeing and its dimensions.

Conclusion: Donor families’ psychological well-being is a complex and multidimensional concept and the existing measurement tools cannot accurately assess it. Therefore, the concept needs to be clearly explored and defined. Developing a comprehensive measurement tool or a set of scales is necessary for the early diagnosis of any impairment in donor families’ psychological well-being.


Organ donation; Donor families; Psychological well-being; Measurement tools; Systematic review

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 pISSN: 2008-6482
 eISSN: 2008-6490


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