The use of writing strategies to increase organ donation intentions
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Organ shortage has been a big problem for a relatively long time. A variety of interventions from the policy level to the individual level have been used to expand the organ donation pool. The goal of this project is to examine the influence of the content and structure of narrative writing on attitudes and behavioral intentions towards organ donation. In Study 1, participants were randomly assigned into one of the three writing groups. Two of the groups were asked to create a character and then write a narrative either related (Narrative Group-NG) or unrelated (Control Group-CG) to organ donation. The other group was asked to answer some open-ended questions related to organ donation (Fragmented Group-FG). The results indicated that the intention change toward organ donation for NG was significantly different from the other two groups in two of the five items in the scale, which suggested that both topic and format can somewhat influence the organ donation intention. When comparing the writing content, the NG differed from the FG in both linguistic structure and psychological processes while the NG and CG differed mainly in their use of psychological processes and pronouns. In Study 2, a more vivid character creating procedure was developed to further shape the personality of the character. Participants were randomly assigned into one of the four writing groups. Two of the groups were asked to create a character either similar (Similar Vivid Narrative Group-SVN) or dissimilar (Dissimilar Vivid Narrative Group-DVN) to the writer and then write a short story to shape the personality of the character. They were then asked to write another short story where this character was in need of kidney transplant. The other two groups were asked to write about the room they were in first. And then, they were asked to write a short story of a character, either similar (Similar Narrative Control Group-SNC) to dissimilar (Dissimilar Narrative Control Group-DNC) to them, was in need of kidney transplant. Participant who were more transported into the narrative story they wrote and were more similar to the character they wrote tended to have more positive change of organ donation intention. Analysis of the narrative writing content revealed that the use of social process words and less gender reference words were associated with a greater increase in organ donation intention.