Positive, but not negative, emotions prior to donation predict first-time whole blood donor return

  • A. van Dongen
  • B. Masser
  • L. Williams


Background: Despite recognition that blood donation, like many health-related behaviours, is a highly affective experience, the impact of donors’ emotional experience on subsequent behaviour remains relatively unexplored. The aim of this study was to fill this gap by measuring first-time blood donors’ emotions throughout the donation process. Specifically, we assessed a range of discrete emotional states and then tracked intention and return behaviour. Methods: First-time blood donors (N=310) were asked “How joyful/proud/sad/scared/stressed do you feel right now?” in the waiting area of the donation centre, in the chair before needle insertion, and in the refreshment area after donation. Donors’ self-reported emotional experience was used to predict intention to return (measured in-centre) as well as actual return within the next 6 months. Findings: Across timepoints, the vast majority reported experiencing positive emotions (94-97%), with a much lower percentage reporting negative emotions (4-64%, with the highest being for stress in the chair). Pride in the waiting area (Beta=.180, p=.017), and joy in the chair and the refreshment area (Betachair=.177, p=.044; Betarefreshment=.313, p=.001) predicted intention to return. Positive emotions in the waiting area predicted return (ORjoy:1.66, 95%CI[1.20-2.31]; ORpride:0.71, 95%CI[0.52-0.96]). Emotions in the chair and refreshment area did not predict return. In no analysis did negative emotions predict intention or return. Discussion: Positive, but not negative, emotions in-centre predict intention to return and return behaviour among first-time blood donors. Further, negative emotional experience is relatively infrequent. Interventions targeting positive emotions prior to donation could be effective in boosting retention among this group of donors.
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