What motivates men to donate blood? A systematic review of the evidence

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Abstract

Background and Objectives

Effective recruitment and retention of male donors are vital for the ongoing provision of blood products. Compared with females, male donors are less likely to be medically deferred or experience vasovagal reactions and are typically preferred for plasmapheresis donation in voluntary non-remunerated settings. However, females outnumber males among donors aged under 40 years. This systematic review aimed to synthesize evidence and identify key motivators for blood donation among males to inform targeted recruitment/retention campaigns.

Materials and Methods

Databases (e.g. EBSCOhost, Web of Science) were searched using terms (dona* OR dono*) AND (blood OR aphaeresis OR apheresis OR plasma* OR platelet* OR platlet*) in title AND (male OR gender OR sex OR female) AND (motivat* OR intention OR attitude OR behavi* OR predictor OR barrier OR deter*) NOT (organ OR sperm OR tissue OR autologous OR oocyte) in text. Two researchers independently systematically scanned quantitative, full-text, English language, peer-reviewed publications from 1990 to 2015 that examined males/females separately with outcomes of blood donation or self-reported intention. Two additional researchers resolved discrepancies.

Results

Among 28 identified articles, the most frequently cited motivators for male blood product donation were as follows: altruism; positive attitude towards incentives; health check(s); subjective norms. Altruism was less pronounced among males compared with females and was combined with ‘warm glow’ in novice males (impure altruism). Perceived health benefits and incentives (e.g. coffee mugs) were stronger motivators of males than females.

Conclusion

Marketing campaigns for recruitment/retention of male donors should focus on identified motivators rather than take a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach.

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