Encouraging Blood Donations

Sénémeaud, C., Georget, P., Guéguen, N., Callé, N., Plainfossé, C., Touati, C., & Mange, J (2014). Labeling of previous donation to encourage subsequent donation among experienced blood donors. Health Psychology, 33(7), 656-659.

Previous research on blood donation has focused on identifying ways to attract new donors. In contrast, Sénémeaud and colleagues investigated strategies to encourage individuals who had donated in the past to donate more regularly. Based on self-perception theory, which suggests that people infer their own attitudes by observing their own behavior, the researchers tested whether labels (feedback statements) that emphasize past donor behavior would increase the likelihood that participants would donate again. Previous blood donors in France were randomly assigned to receive one of three blood drive invitations. These included either (1) a social label, emphasizing the donor’s past generosity toward and connection with blood recipients, (2) a functional label, emphasizing the usefulness and importance of the donor’s past behavior, or (3) a message without mention of a previous donation – the control condition. The dependent variable was the number of participants who made a new donation at the blood drive. Results showed that both the social label and the functional label increased donations significantly more than the neutral message, and this was particularly true for older donors and female donors. Women were three times more likely to give blood in the labeled conditions than in the control condition. This latter finding is important since women are underrepresented as blood donors across cultures.

Making Connections

Self-perception theory
Statistical interaction

Media Supplement

NPR’s Radiolab has compiled A Cultural History of Giving Blood .