Blood donors and factors impacting the blood donation decision

Transfus Med Rev. 2002 Apr;16(2):115-30. doi: 10.1053/tmrv.2002.31461.


The aging of the US population and the evidence that only about 5% of individuals in the United States donate blood each year raise concerns about the assurance of an adequate, safe supply of blood in the future. Blood donation decision making has been investigated worldwide for decades to understand the process better to increase donation efficiency, safety, retention, collection numbers, and diversity of the donor pool. This review focuses on the characteristics of allogeneic blood donors, the motivational sources in donor decision making, and the research concepts and techniques used to examine these factors. Some historic studies considered pivotal, as well as more recent surveys, may not be pertinent to or representative of the current national donor pool. Interpretation of data related to donor characteristics should examine whether demographics mirror the donor pool to assist in targeted recruitment or if targeted recruitment actually leads to the reported demographics. Few recent studies of donor motivation have been published. Modern sources of positive and negative motivation are worth exploring through scientifically sound investigations involving representative cohorts using multifactorial approaches. Strategies that focus on retaining return donors and transforming first-time donors into repeaters would be beneficial. Investigations are needed also to assess research questions and to develop well-designed interventions to test hypotheses and to produce generalizable findings applicable to future donor decision making.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Donors / psychology*
  • Blood Donors / statistics & numerical data
  • Blood Donors / supply & distribution
  • Decision Theory*
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological
  • Motivation