Individual, contextual and network characteristics of blood donors and non-donors: a systematic review of recent literature

Tjeerd W. Piersma, Rene Bekkers, Elisabeth F. Klinkenberg, Wim L.A.M. De Kort, Eva-Maria Merz

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The ageing population and recent migration flows may negatively affect the blood supply on the long-term, increasing the importance of targeted recruitment and retention strategies to address donors. This review sought to identify individual, network and contextual characteristics related to blood donor status and behaviour, to systematically discuss differences between study results, and to identify possible factors to be targeted by recruitment and retention efforts.

The systematic review was conducted in accordance to a predefined PROSPERO protocol (CRD42016039591). After quality assessments by multiple independent raters, a final set of 66 peer-reviewed papers, published between October 2009 and January 2017, were included for review.

Individual and contextual characteristics of blood donor status and behaviour were categorized along five main lines of research: donor demographics, motivations and barriers, adverse reactions and deferral, contextual factors, and blood centre factors. Results on donor demographics, motivations and barriers, and contextual factors were inconclusive, differing between studies, countries, and sample characteristics. Adverse reactions and deferral were negatively related to blood donor behaviour. Blood centre factors play an important role in donor management, e.g., providing information, reminders, and (non-)monetary rewards. No studies were found on network characteristics of (non-)donors.

Although individual and contextual characteristics strongly relate to blood donor status and behaviour, mechanisms underlying these relations have not been studied enough. We want to stress the importance of longitudinal studies in donor behaviour, exploring the role of life events and network characteristics within blood donor careers. Increased understanding of donor behaviour will assist policy makers of blood collection agencies, with the ultimate goal to safeguard a sufficient and matching blood supply.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)382-397
Number of pages16
JournalBlood Transfusion
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • blood donor behaviour
  • contextual characteristics
  • donor career
  • individual characteristics
  • systematic review


Dive into the research topics of 'Individual, contextual and network characteristics of blood donors and non-donors: a systematic review of recent literature'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this