Blood donation is a prosocial altruistic act that is motived by the mechanisms that underlie altruism (e.g. warm‐glow, reciprocity, fairness/trust). Because there is consistent evidence that altruism and its mechanisms show cross‐cultural variability, in the present paper we make the case for a cross‐cultural perspective in blood donor research.
We analyse a subset of variables from a larger study, with samples drawn from seven countries (England, Malta, the Netherlands, Australia, the USA, Hungary, Italy: average N per country = 282). This subset of variables focuses on health (organ donor registration) and non‐health (volunteering, donating money) philanthropy, family traditions of helping and moral outrage as predictors of blood donor status.
We show two cross‐cultural universals: (1) organ donor registration in opt‐in countries is positively associated with blood donor status and (2) non‐health philanthropy is generally unrelated to blood donor status. We also show two country‐specific effects: (1) a family tradition for helping is associated with blood donor status in Italy only and (2) moral outrage is a predictor only in the USA.
We contend that these findings provide proof of principle why a cross‐cultural perspective on blood donor behaviour is needed.