Advancing Understandings of Blood Donation Motivation and Behavior

NHLBI SoS Working Group #1: Blood Donors and the Supply

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this review, we provide critical analysis of social science research into blood donation motivation and behavior. We first share an understanding of the existing literature and recommendations for future research collectively developed by members of the Working Group on Blood Donors and the Supply: Diversifying while Maintaining the Donor Pool, Donor Selection, and Optimizing Blood Availability and Safety, as part of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's 2022 State of the Science in Transfusion Medicine symposium. Then, rather than aim for a comprehensive treatment, we review 4 newer manuscripts that exemplify aspects of the group's recommendations and report results from countries where the blood supply is based on voluntary, nonremunerated donations. From the substantial existing literature, we selected: (1) a study that employed motivational interviewing techniques, thematic analysis, and surveys to link donation motivations and barriers reported by diverse young donors in the United States to actual donation behavior over a year of subsequent eligibility; (2) a survey regarding donation motivations and barriers and monetary amounts associated with willingness to participate in whole blood, plasma, or platelet collection; (3) a survey-based assessment of various emotional states reported by donors at 2 time points during donation and the relationship between emotional experience and subsequent vasovagal reactions; and (4) an interpretive discourse analysis of blood collection agency messaging to donors and the public in the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. We close by noting several challenges posed by the structure of the United States blood system and the current funding environment to conducting rigorous research and translating findings into practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number150780
JournalTransfusion Medicine Reviews
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Blood donation
  • Compensation
  • Discourse
  • Emotions
  • Knowledge translation
  • Motivation
  • Social science

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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