Entertainment (Mis)education: The framing of organ donation in entertainment television

Susan E. Morgan, Tyler R. Harrison, Lisa Chewning, La Shara Davis, Mark Dicorcia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Researchers and practitioners who have sought to understand public reluctance to donating organs in spite of favorable attitudes toward organ donation have long thought that belief in myths about donation contribute to the problem. How these myths emerged and more important, why they have persisted in spite of national education campaigns is not clear. In the absence of direct personal experience with organ donation or transplantation, we believe that most people receive their information about donation through the media. In this study, we identify all entertainment television shows with organ donation storylines or subplots broadcast on ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX from 2004-2005. Frame analysis reveals 2 competing metaframes: the moral corruption of the powerful and organ donors are good people. In addition to the metaframes, 4 secondary frames, and 6 tertiary frames are identified. Organ donation is framed in mostly negative terms, with a few notable exceptions. Recommendations for how to address negative framing of organ donation in the media are offered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-151
Number of pages9
JournalHealth Communication
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication


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