Satisfaction with life among living kidney donors: A relive study of long-term donor outcomes

Emily E. Messersmith, Cynthia R. Gross, Charlotte A. Beil, Brenda W. Gillespie, Cheryl Jacobs, Sandra J. Taler, Robert M. Merion, Sheila G. Jowsey, Alan B. Leichtman, Barry A. Hong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Background. Little is known about living kidney donors' satisfaction with life (SWL) after donation. We compared donors' SWL to previously reported general population samples and investigated predictors of donors' SWL. Methods. Three transplant centers mailed questionnaires to assess SWL, physical health, optimism, retrospective evaluation of the donation experience, and demographic characteristics to living kidney donors' homes between 2010 and 2012. Two thousand four hundred fifty-five donors who were between 5 and 48 years from the time of their donor surgery completed the questionnaire. Results. Eighty-four percent of donors were satisfied with their lives (scoresQ20 on the Satisfaction With Life Scale). Donors were at least as satisfied with their lives as previously reported general population samples. After adjusting for physical health, optimism, and demographics, donors' SWL was significantly associated with donors' recalled experience of donation. Social support and positive effects of the donation on relationships predicted greater SWL. Financial difficulties associated with donation and longer recovery times predicted lower SWL. Recipient outcomes were not significantly related to donor SWL. Discussion. Limitations include the lack of predonation SWL data, potential bias in postdonation SWL because of the situational context of the questionnaire, and a sample that is not representative of all U.S. living kidney donors. Nonetheless, strategies focused on improving the donation experience, particularly related to recovery time, financial issues, and social support, may result in greater SWL after donation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1294-1300
Number of pages7
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2014


  • Financial and social support
  • Kidney donation
  • Quality of life
  • Satisfaction with life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation


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