Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Cynthia Hoffner - Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Yuki Fujioka

Third Advisor

Dr. Holley Wilkin


The decision to become an organ donor involves considering both self-relevant risks and the needs of others. This study applied prospect theory to examine how message frames that focus on the possible survival or death of a potential organ transplant recipient affect participants' willingness to become organ donors. Perceived personal risk and ambivalence were examined as moderating variables. Results indicate that risk, rather than ambivalence, played an instrumental role in participants' decisions to donate. Although no main effects or interactions related to message frame emerged in initial analyses, a supplemental analysis revealed a modest persuasive advantage for the loss-framed message among low-risk participants. Additional analyses revealed that for low-risk participants, perceived benefits of organ donation were higher for the loss frame than the gain frame, whereas the opposite pattern was found for high-risk participants. Findings suggest that decisions about organ donation may be associated with unique responses to message frames.


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