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Transfusion. 2002 Jun;42(6):669-78.

The contribution of sociodemographic, medical, and attitudinal factors to blood donation among the general public.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.



Few studies have simultaneously assessed the relative importance of sociodemographic, medical, and attitudinal factors in explaining which individuals are more likely to donate blood.


A cross-sectional telephone survey of households in Maryland was conducted to identify the relation of sociodemographic, medical, and attitudinal factors to blood donation history among the general public. Random digit dialing was used to identify households; individuals aged 18 to 75 years were randomly selected within households. In multivariate analyses, the independent relationship of these factors with prior history of blood donation was assessed, and the amount of variation in prior history of blood donation among the study population that could be explained by these factors was determined.


Of 385 participants (84% of randomized homes), 228 (59%) had donated blood at least once in the past. After adjusting for potential confounders, women, black participants, and those agreeing with the statement "I am afraid of hospitals" had 60 to 80 percent lower odds of prior donation when compared with men, white participants, and those who did not agree with the statement (OR [95% CI]: 0.2 [0.1-0.4], 0.4 [0.2-0.8], and 0.3 [0.2-0.6], respectively). The effect of fear of hospitals was consistent across sex and race. Trust, fear, and suspicion of hospitals were among factors contributing most to variation in prior donation history.


Female sex, black race, and fear of hospitals are three major factors negatively associated with prior history of blood donation. Fear of hospitals affects blood donation patterns across race and sex groups. Future study is needed to determine whether recruitment of blood donors may be more efficient if focused toward women, minorities, and donors' fears of healthcare facilities or hospitals.

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