Increasing nondonors' intention to give blood: addressing common barriers

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Recruiting new donors is a challenging experience for most blood collection agencies. A modest proportion of the population is eligible to give blood and few of these individuals volunteer. The goal of this study was to examine the effects of brief behavioral interventions on nondonors' intention to give blood, by addressing some commonly reported obstacles.


A total of 244 young adults who were eligible to give blood but had never done so participated in the study. They were assigned randomly to an applied tension (AT) instruction condition, a relaxation instruction condition, a Web browsing condition, or a no-treatment control condition. After the 20-minute experimental intervention, half watched three short injection and blood draw videos and the others sat quietly. Intention to give blood and different cognitive constructs associated with blood donation were measured using a Theory of Planned Behavior questionnaire.


Participants in all three active conditions had significantly greater increases in intention to donate blood compared to controls, although those who learned AT had greater increases than Web browsing. Bootstrapping tests of mediation indicated particular importance of increased perceived behavioral control in AT and relaxation treatment effects. Follow-up analyses revealed a significant association between degree of within-session increase in intention and subsequent blood clinic attendance.


These results suggest that simple interventions can be effective in increasing nondonors' intention to donate blood and, perhaps, actual attendance. The mediational analyses suggest that interventions can selectively target different barriers associated with blood donation.

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