BACKGROUND: Willingness to donate blood depends on personal characteristics, beliefs, and motivations, but also on the cultural context. The aim of this study was to examine whether willingness to donate blood is associated with attitudes toward blood transfusion, personal motivators, and incentives and whether these factors vary across countries in the European Union (EU).
STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: The sample consisted of 27,868 participants, from 28 EU member states, who were interviewed about blood donation and transfusion-related issues for the 2014 round of the Eurobarometer, a country-comparative survey, collected on behalf of the European Commission. Participants were asked whether they would be willing to donate blood and for which reasons (motivators) and which incentives are appropriate to receive in return for a blood donation.
RESULTS: Willingness to donate varied significantly across countries and was positively associated with perceived blood transfusion safety. Furthermore, helping family or people in need were the most powerful motivators for blood donation willingness in almost all countries. In contrast, the number of participants who were willing to donate to alleviate shortages or to contribute to research varied widely across countries. The wish to receive certain incentives, however, did not seem to be related to willingness to donate.
CONCLUSION: Perceived blood transfusion safety and personal motivations may be stronger determinants of willingness to donate than receiving certain incentives. EU-wide strategies and guidelines for donor recruitment and retention should take both overall and country-specific patterns into account. For example, education on the importance of donation could be considered.