Abstract

Background: Nationally, African Americans are significantly underrepresented in community blood donation programs. The need to understand the willingness to donate blood among African Americans is essential. In this study, we explore factors that serve as motivators and barriers to blood donation identified by college students at two Historical Black Colleges/Universities (HBCUs).

Methods: HBCU students at least 18 years of age were given the opportunity to complete a paper-based or on-line 41-item questionnaire to assess the participant’s demographic background, donation frequency, motivators and barriers toward donation, knowledge and beliefs regarding blood donation, and specific behavioral practices. No personal identifiers were used. Univariate and bivariate analyses were conducted to describe the sample.

Results: 409 individuals completed the survey. 95% self-identified as African-American and 45% of college students reported previously donating blood. Student’s felt that incentives, personal requests to donate from blood centers, blood drives sponsored by campus organizations, and the university involvement in promoting blood drives were significant motivating factors for donating blood (p<.05). Significant barriers against blood donation included believing donation was too painful, fear of feeling faint, dizzy, or nauseated, losing valuable time from school or work, too time consuming, and fear of deferral (p<.05).

Conclusions: College students are willing to donate blood based on convenience, accessibility, and support from their university. Campus-based recruitment methods geared towards students, specifically those of African American descent, may prove beneficial for increasing the general pool of African American blood donors.

Significant relationships between barriers, motivators, and donor status

Χ2Sig.
*p<.05 
Barriers against blood donation   
Too painful 60.20 .000 
Would feel faint, dizzy, or nauseated 42.15 .000 
Will lose valuable time from school/work 16.82 .002 
Previously been told not to donate 8.49 .004 
Takes too long 37.41 .000 
Motivators toward blood donation   
Incentive for donating 14.56 .006 
Personal request to donate from blood center 10.15 .038 
Blood drive sponsored by campus organization 26.29 .000 
University involvement in promoting blood drives 5.36 .021 
Χ2Sig.
*p<.05 
Barriers against blood donation   
Too painful 60.20 .000 
Would feel faint, dizzy, or nauseated 42.15 .000 
Will lose valuable time from school/work 16.82 .002 
Previously been told not to donate 8.49 .004 
Takes too long 37.41 .000 
Motivators toward blood donation   
Incentive for donating 14.56 .006 
Personal request to donate from blood center 10.15 .038 
Blood drive sponsored by campus organization 26.29 .000 
University involvement in promoting blood drives 5.36 .021 

Author notes

Disclosure: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.