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Should Altruism, Solidarity, or Reciprocity be Used as Prosocial Appeals? Contrasting Conceptions of Members of the General Public and Medical Professionals Regarding Promoting Organ Donation

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Journal of Communication

Published online on


Moral appeals to altruism as a means to influence people's prosocial behavior are common, especially in organ donation, but communicators might not consider that conceptions of altruism differ among people, cultures, and scholars. In organ donation employing altruism as the main appeal is contested and some propose using solidarity or reciprocity as alternative prosocial appeals. This qualitative study explored views of people from diverse Israeli groups (29 focus groups) and medical professionals (140) regarding the appropriateness of employing these 3 moral appeals in organ donation. The analysis presents frameworks of contrasting conceptions of altruism that point to potential unintended effects when applying a restrictive conception. It also identifies communication challenges associated with introducing solidarity or reciprocity as prosocial and value‐laden persuasive appeals.