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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 34-37

Self-admitted motivating factors and barriers to blood donation in a single center from Southern India

1 Department of Transfusion Medicine, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry, India
2 Department of Transfusion Medicine, Government Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India

Date of Submission19-Nov-2019
Date of Decision20-Feb-2020
Date of Acceptance25-Feb-2020
Date of Web Publication17-Apr-2020

Correspondence Address:
Abhishekh Basavarajegowda
Department of Transfusion Medicine, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/GJTM.GJTM_67_19

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Background and Objectives: Delineating the motivating factors and hindrances for the donation is of utmost importance in planning recruitment strategies for blood donors in the success of blood transfusion services. This study attempts to evaluate the various reasons as to why or why not people donate blood. Methodology: This was an interview-based study. One hundred and fifty donors in each group, regular repeat donors and non-donors who were willing to be a part of the study and were capable of understanding the questionnaire were included in the study. Questionnaire enquired as to what motivated them to donate in case of regular repeat donors and as to why they never donated from non-donors. The responses were recorded and analyzed. Results: Forty-six percent of the respondents admitted that the friends who were already donors were the ones who influenced them to donate. People who never donated blood most commonly (47%) reported that they never donated because they were never asked to. The second-most common cause (32%) was that they perceived themselves to be not healthy enough to donate. Conclusion: This study suggests that individuals who have never donated might be influenced to donate if asked by coworkers, friends, or family while the blood center plays an important role in reminding or encouraging donors to return.

Keywords: Barriers, blood donation, motivators

How to cite this article:
Basavarajegowda A, Usha K C, Mayadevi S. Self-admitted motivating factors and barriers to blood donation in a single center from Southern India. Glob J Transfus Med 2020;5:34-7

How to cite this URL:
Basavarajegowda A, Usha K C, Mayadevi S. Self-admitted motivating factors and barriers to blood donation in a single center from Southern India. Glob J Transfus Med [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 May 17];5:34-7. Available from: https://www.gjtmonline.com/text.asp?2020/5/1/34/282743

  Introduction Top

Maintaining an adequate pool of donors is the mainstay of functioning in a blood center. Indian population is touching 1.38 billion as of date. India collected roughly 11.45 million units in 2017–2018 but still stares at a shortage of 2 million units.[1] The population is widely different in terms of ethnicity and socioreligious practices. The environment as well is varied with people living in developed urban areas as well as remote rural places with no formidable access to health care. Hence, the various determinants of positive contribution to blood supply are also different. Although various studies have been performed to study the deterrents and motivators to donate blood and published, it is of supreme importance to identify the factors causing a reduction in this donor supply by looking at the causes in the local geographical areas and thereby plan to strategically eliminate few of them. Each population shall have its own beliefs and taboos about blood donation, and awareness of these restraining factors is a must before attempting to motivate prospective donors.

Aims and Objectives

This study was conducted to explore the motivating factors for the donation among the donors donating blood at a tertiary level care teaching hospital. We also tried to delineate hindrances/reasons for not donating blood from people who have never donated blood.

  Methodology Top

This was an interview-based study conducted in and around a tertiary care teaching hospital in Southern India. The study was approved by the institutional ethics committee vide letter no. IEC No: 01/27/2009/MCT dated 6.2.2009. A questionnaire was designed to delineate reasons and motivating factors for continuing donation (from regular repeat donors). A questionnaire was designed by including closed as well as open-ended questions. The questionnaire was also circulated among the experts in the field who were regularly involved in donor recruitment drives and their inputs taken after brainstorming sessions. One hundred and fifty donors who were willing to be a part of the study and could comprehend the questionnaire were conveniently chosen. Furthermore, people who have never donated were collected from camps among the bystanders or friends and people who were helping in the camp but have never donated before. For the donors who came to donate for the first time, they were asked as to why they have never donated so far. The responses given were compiled and grouped.

Statistical analysis

The results were entered into Microsoft Excel sheets, and statistical analysis was performed. All the responses were expressed as frequencies and the proportion of total responses at 95% confidence intervals.

  Results Top


The two most commonly reported reasons/motivators for blood donation were the influence from the friends (46%) and obligation to request from somebody (42%). Influence by family members (8%), helping nature (7%), and moral obligation (4%) were the other less commonly reported motives. The response rates are summarized in [Table 1].
Table 1: Reasons given by people for donating blood

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[Table 2] presents results on media and social factors that influenced their blood donation. Friends again played a high role (42%), followed by a request at the workplace (26%). Media (10%) and campaigns (8%) had a role to play, followed by parents and relatives (6%).
Table 2: Where they came to know about blood donation

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The self-admitted perceived barriers from the donors are grouped and compiled in [Table 3]. People who never donated blood were most commonly due to that they were never asked to donate (47%) while the second-most common cause was perceived self-deferral due to health problems (32%). Twenty-four percent of donors cited that donation hours were inconvenient and unable due to time constraints. Seventeen percent of people thought they had a blood group, which was very common and hence not important for them to donate. Thirteen percent of the people were afraid of the donation procedure/needles, whereas 4% of the people were afraid that they may get some disease/illness by donating. Other uncommon reasons given were objection from the family members (9%) and religious barriers (1%). Seven percent of the people could not think of a reason for not giving blood.
Table 3: Reasons given by people for not donating blood

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  Discussion Top

About 88% of our study respondents appeared motivated by a responsibility or desire to help people, or influenced by friends who were already donors. It suggests that responsibility toward society is a key factor influencing the decision to donate among donors. In many studies these were also the common factors that were weakly but positively correlated with donor's intention to return for the donation. Our findings were similar to few reports and study by Hupfer et al., suggesting “altruistic” reasons being the primary motivator for donating.[2],[3] This indicates that intention to help others is an important motive in the decision to donate, although not the only one. However, it should not be misinterpreted as individuals who do not donate are less altruistic as evidenced by that in a given year 56% of the US population spends time in volunteer activities, but only 5% of them donate blood. Individuals contribute to society in many ways other than blood donation. This supports Piliavin and Callero's caution “altruism and social responsibility are not sufficient to discriminate donors from non-donors.” Factors such as awareness of the blood need, opportunity to donate, individual fears (of needles or infections), the status of health, literacy status, and personal experience (such as knowing someone who needs blood, especially among the family and friends) are important factors in the decision of being a donor.[2],[4]

In our study being asked to donate blood was the most important motivator for all repeat donors. Our results highlight the importance of friends in college/workplace in recruitment. Being asked for donation at college/work was a very influential request or appeal, and people were more receptive than when they were approached by the blood services (even with repeat donors), by family members, by a social, religious, or civic organization. These results also showed that in about 26% of donors the request to donate had been received at the workplace. Being asked for the donation at work may be a strong motivator because it is very convenient for the donor and removes possible barriers such as childcare or need for transportation. The data Glynn et al. collected in 1998 also reflected it onto the frequency of exposure for the requests, i.e., blood centers more often asked the repeat donors to donate compared to them approaching first-time donors.[5]

Taking the help of donors who are already donating regularly to help in recruiting efforts might be fruitful in engaging few people to consider blood donation. Appeals from neighbors supporting a charitable cause have also been influential.[6]

Receiving a health screen was not mentioned as a reason for the donation in our study whereas elsewhere about one-third people reported that receiving medical screens at the time of donation such as mini-medical including temperature, blood pressure, hemoglobin, and testing for infectious diseases or believing that blood donation has health benefits were important in influencing their decision to donate. In centers that offered additional tests of screening (like cholesterol test at donation), up to 80% of respondents reported this factor as important in their decision of donation.[7] Blood facilities may consider offering attractive screening programs for well-being, to the donors as an incentive for donating.

Although of less importance in comparison to other factors, the influence of trivial incentives such as tickets for entertainment show, T-shirts which are customized and not transferable, or time off work can be thought off. In our study, we did not find the mention of incentives as a motivating factor. Sanchez et al. previously reported that these small incentives motivated at least one-fifth of their donors to donate, and these donors were not at more risk for transfusion-transmissible infections than other donors who felt discouraged or were indifferent to this incentive.[8]

The results show that similar to the work of Drake et al. who reported that reason for not donating blood was primarily “not being asked to donate.” In their study, only 19% of non-donors reported of being asked to donate whereas 38% for first-time donors and up to 54% of repeat donors were asked for the donation.[4] This provides an indirect clue that being asked to donate is an important motivator.[3] The next common cause was perceived self deferral due to health problems or thinking that they were too weak/lean- to donate. This is a very important issue that needs to be addressed by educating people as many a time what is perceived to be a deferral by donors may not be so in reality. Pre-donation information goes a long way in addressing these issues. Inconvenient timing of donation has been quoted in a quarter of respondents. It is imperative that many blood banks have extended their donation hours beyond the regular working hours, and the results have been encouraging.

Other causes match Grossman et al. survey of young African-American women with regard to blood donation, who reported that the primary reason that prevented blood donation was “inconvenience, fear of needles, taking too much time, contracting disease, medical conditions, and fear of finding out about having a disease.”[9] A study of college students by Oswalt and Hoff also demonstrated similar reasons such as medical conditions, “fear of needles,” “pain” or “infectious disease transmission,” inconvenience, and apathy. The results from these studies also support the need for educational interventions and awareness about blood donation to minimize potential fears regard to the process of donation, vasovagal reactions, the sterility, and the concept of disposable single-use consumables for collecting blood, the outlay of facts and myth-busting sessions for blood donors.[2] Seventeen percent of the respondents felt that their blood group was a common one, and hence the demand is low. It needs to be reiterated that the more common a blood group such as say “O” or “B,” the requirement also would be higher as the patients with those blood groups will also be more common.

The limitation of the study was that the factors for motivators and hindrances were elicited only on donors who could comprehend the English language, and hence the results may not be extrapolated to the entire population.

Future studies may include a larger group with representation from a wider population with validated questionnaires in the local language.

This study may be improvised to assess whether a donor would be more likely to donate, or would have a positive notion toward donation in the absence of factors that were listed as important or not, in a donor's decision to donate.

  Conclusion Top

This study suggests that people who have never donated may be influenced into donating if approached by friends, family members, or coworkers. The blood center has a very important role to play in making donors return to donation and retain them.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

World Blood Donor day 2019, National Health Portal of India. Available from: https://www.nhp.gov.in/world-blood-donor-day2019_pg. [Last accessed on 2019 Jun 04].  Back to cited text no. 1
Oswalt RM, Hoff TE. The motivations of blood donors and nondonors: A community survey. Transfusion 1975;15:68-72.  Back to cited text no. 2
Hupfer ME, Taylor DW, Letwin JA. Understanding Canadian student motivations and beliefs about giving blood. Transfusion 2005;45:149-61.  Back to cited text no. 3
Drake AW, Finkelstein SN, Sopolsky HM. The American Blood Supply. Cambridge (MA): MIT Press; 1982.  Back to cited text no. 4
Glynn SA, Kleinman SH, Schreiber GB, Zuck T, Combs SM, Bethel J, et al. Motivations to donate blood: Demographic comparisons. Transfusion 2002;42:216-25.  Back to cited text no. 5
Glynn SA, Schreiber GB, Murphy EL, Kessler D, Higgins M, Wright DJ, et al. Factors influencing the decision to donate: Racial and ethnic comparisons. Transfusion 2006;46:980-90.  Back to cited text no. 6
Price CL, Boyd JH, Watkins AR, Fleming F, DeBaun MR. Mailing of a sickle cell disease educational packet increases blood donors within an African American community. Transfusion 2006;46:1388-93.  Back to cited text no. 7
Sanchez AM, Ameti DI, Schreiber GB, Thomson RA, Lo A, Bethel J, et al. The potential impact of incentives on future blood donation behavior. Transfusion 2001;41:172-8.  Back to cited text no. 8
Grossman B, Watkins AR, Fleming F, Debaun MR. Barriers and motivators to blood and cord blood donations in young African-American women. Am J Hematol 2005;78:198-202.  Back to cited text no. 9


  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]


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