The blood-donation experience: Perceived physical, psychological and social impact of blood donation on the donor.

Nilsson Sojka, B., & Sojka, P. (2003). The blood-donation experience: Perceived physical, psychological and social impact of blood donation on the donor. Vox Sanguinis, 84(2), 120–128.

Background and Objectives: This study aimed to investigate the impact and effects of blood donation on blood donors as perceived and reported by donors themselves. 

Materials and Methods: A self-administered questionnaire was distributed to 600 consecutive whole-blood donors (who had a history of at least one previous donation) consisting of an open-ended question asking whether the blood donation had any impact on the donor. The answers to this question were considered as descriptions of effects perceived by the donors to be evoked by whole-blood donation. 

Results: In all, 528 subjects completed the questionnaire (88%; 319 males and 209 females) and answered the question about the effects of blood donation. Altogether, 54% (287 out of 528) of the blood donors reported one or several effects. Exclusively positive effects were described by 29% (151) of blood donors, while exclusively negative effects and mixed effects (i.e. concomitant positive and negative effects in the same subject) were described by 19% (103) and 6% (33), respectively, while no effect was reported by 46% (241) of the donors. A majority of the effects commenced within 1 h of blood donation. The positive effects lasted significantly longer (often for weeks, P < 0.0001) than negative effects (min/h/days). Among positive effects a feeling of satisfaction, of being more alert, and feeling generally better than before the blood donation predominated for both female and male donors. Among negative effects, vertigo/dizziness was reported more frequently by female donors (P < 0.0001). Logistic regression analysis revealed that the negative effects were less likely to occur with increasing age (P < 0.001) and that they were more likely to occur in female donors (P < 0.001) in comparison to male donors, irrespective of age. 

Conclusions: The majority of effects elicited by blood donation on blood donors were positive (i.e. feelings of satisfaction, greater alertness, increased wellbeing, etc.). The positive effects did not differ from the negative regarding time of onset, yet their duration was reported to be significantly longer. There was no association between frequency of occurrence of positive effects and the number of blood donations, indicating that there is no 'addictive' relationship between donors and blood donations. The findings in this study of high frequency of occurrence of positive long-lasting effects elicited in blood donors by blood donation may be of great importance for the recruitment of new blood donors as it may make blood donation less frightening and perhaps even attractive.

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