Background: Disparities in African-American live donor kidney transplantation continue to grow. How patients cope with the reality of end-stage renal disease and the ensuing need for dialysis or a kidney transplant may directly affect the course of their disease, quality of life, and willingness to ask for live kidney donation. Racial differences in coping may exist and relate to the willingness to ask for live kidney donation.
Methods: The Brief COPE and Living Organ Donor Survey instruments were administered prospectively to potential kidney transplant recipients. The 14 different coping mechanisms were analyzed by race to look for differences. Willingness to ask for live kidney donation was analyzed to look for possible correlations with coping mechanisms and possible predictors analyzed by means of logistic regression.
Results: Three hundred thirty-three potential kidney transplant recipients were administered the surveys, with 61% African Americans. Racial differences were seen in the following coping mechanisms: acceptance, humor, religion, denial, and behavioral disengagement. Although racial differences did not exist in overall willingness to ask for donation, positive coping strategies were related to increased willingness to ask for donation.
Conclusion: African Americans cope with the need for a kidney transplant differently than non-African Americans. Potential African-American kidney recipients are more likely to deny the need for a transplant and are less accepting of their situation. This may affect their perception of the need for transplantation and their persuasiveness in asking for live donations. Transplant programs should ensure that counseling and education programs aim to modify unrealistic expectations and improve recipient coping skills.