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The importance of need-altruism and kin-altruism to blood donor behaviour for black and white people.

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BACKGROUND: Need-altruism (a preference to help people in need) and kin-altruism (a preference to help kin over non-kin) underlie two hypotheses for voluntary blood donation: (i) Need-altruism underlies motivations for volunteer blood donation and (ii) Black people express a stronger preference for kin-altruism, which is a potential barrier to donation. This paper tests these hypotheses and explores how need- and kin-altruism are associated with wider altruistic motivations, barriers, and strategies to encourage donation. METHODS: We assessed need- and kin-altruism, other mechanisms-of-altruism (e.g., reluctant-altruism), barriers, strategies to encourage donation, donor status, and willingness-to-donate across four groups based on ethnicity (Black; White), nationality (British; Nigerian), and country-of-residence: (i) Black-British people (n = 395), and Black-Nigerian people (ii) in the UK (n = 97) or (iii) across the rest of the world (n = 101), and (v) White-British people in the UK (n = 452). We also sampled a Black-Nigerian Expert group (n = 60). RESULTS: Need-altruism was higher in donors and associated with willingness-to-donate in non-donors. Levels of kin-altruism did not differ between Black and White people, but need-altruism was lower in Black-British people. Kin-altruism was associated with a preference for incentives, and need-altruism with a preference for recognition (e.g., a thank you) as well as an increased willingness-to-donate for Black non-donors. Need-altruism underlies a blood-donor-cooperative-phenotype. CONCLUSION: Need-altruism is central to blood donation, in particular recruitment. Lower need-altruism may be a specific barrier for Black-British people. Kin-altruism is important for Black non-donors. The blood donor cooperative phenotype deserves further consideration. Implications for blood services are discussed.


Publication status: Published

Funder: Research England Policy Support Fund


altruim, barriers, blood donor behaviour, ethnicity, incentives, kin‐altruism, motivations, need‐altruism, rewards, Humans, Blood Donors, Altruism, Motivation, Black People, White People, West African People, European People

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Transfus Med

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National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Blood and Transplant Research Unit in Donor Health and Behaviour (NIHR203337)