Overcoming the Impact of Anxiety for Would-Be Donors

Donor recruitment is an ongoing challenge to blood collection agencies worldwide. Within the recruitment literature anxiety centring on the process and paraphernalia of phlebotomy has frequently been suggested as a key deterrent to non-donors. However, to date, anxiety has only been examined within the recruitment literature as an emotion that can rationally be expected to be experienced if the respondent were to present to donate blood.In contrast, we propose that when anxious arousal is experienced by would-be donors it has an immediate, arguably non-rational, effect on decision-making by making blood donation an affectively ‘hot’ behaviour.Further, drawing on an established body of literature, we propose that non-donors in affectively ‘cold’ contexts where blood donation paraphernalia are not present are unable to accurately predict their reactions in terms of their positive orientation, self-efficacy, intention to donate and donation behaviour if such paraphernalia were present. That is, they experience an empathy gap. Based on our previous research, the proposed study will assess whether (1) the presence of blood donation paraphernalia in a field setting induces anxiety in non-donors which results in a decrease in their self-efficacy, intention to donate, and blood donation behaviour, and (2) this decrease can be ‘corrected’ using specially-designed blood donation recruitment brochures.


  • Associate Professor Barbara Masser (The University of Queensland)
  • Professor Christopher France (Ohio University)
  • Dr. Melissa Hyde (Queensland University of Technology)
  • Dr. Geoff Smith (The Australian Red Cross Blood Service)



  • Masser, B.M., France, C., & Hyde, M. with Smith G.E. (2012). Overcoming the impact of situationally induced anxiety on would-be donors. Australian Red Cross Blood Service Internal Grant. $39,614 over 1 year.


Related publications

  • Clowes R. & Masser, B. (2012). Right here, right now: the impact of the blood donation context on anxiety, attitudes, subjective norms, self-efficacy, and intention to donate blood. Transfusion, 52 (7), 1560-1565.
  • Masser, B.M. & France, C.R. (2010). An evaluation of a donation coping brochure with Australian non-donors. Transfusion & Apheresis Science, 43, 291-297.