Negative experiences and pre‐donation blood pressure: the role of attitude and anxiety
Several studies have explored the effects of interventions to reduce negative experiences during a donation, for instance, reducing the number of vasovagal reactions by water loading (Newman et al., 2007), using applied muscle tension to reduce vasovagal reactions (Holly et al., 2011) or the effect of distraction on self‐reported physiological reactions in first‐time donors (Bonk et al., 2001). However, the presence of a psychological or physiological anticipatory stress response at the following visit as a result of this negative experience has been mostly overlooked. In addition, the influence of the donor's attitude and anxiety towards a future donation after having experienced such an event is unclear. Attitude, both cognitive and affective, is a measure of how the donor rates the behaviour in terms of importance and pleasantness and has been found to be a predictor of the intention to donate in the future (Veldhuizen et al., 2011). The role of trait donation anxiety – how the donor rates the donation in advance in terms of fear – is still being debated; some studies show no difference in intention to donate (van Dongen et al., 2013a), whereas others present evidence of a negative influence on the intention to donate (France et al., 2013b).
Summarising the above, there is evidence indicating that donors with a negative donation experience might have anticipatory stress at their following donation visit, as expressed by a raised pre‐donation blood pressure. The actual impact of the negative event – how the donor handles and perceives the negative event – might also be influenced by the donor's attitude or anxiety. However, the relationships between the attitude and anxiety arising from previous negative donation experiences and future donation stress responses remain unclear.