Voluntary blood donation in Hungary during the covid-19 pandemic

Exploratory study on the connections between sociodemographic variables, prosocial background, and perceived barriers

László Dorner - Georgina Csordás


Voluntary blood donation is a form of prosocial behaviour which is a cornerstone of every country's health system. The aim of our study is to investigate why blood donation is considered as a volunteer activity and to explore the connections between sociodemographic factors, general prosocial activity, perceived barriers, personal COVID exposure, and the number of blood donations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, we investigated psychometric properties of the scales developed to measure motivational background variables (moral outrage and reluctant altruism) in a Hungarian sample and their connection with prosocial activity. Our study was conducted on a sample (N=219) that was heterogeneous in terms of demographics (17 counties), age (between 18-68 years, M = 43.51; SD = 11.98), and number of donations, and we used a mixed survey method (online and paper and pencil self-report survey) for data collection. Our results indicate that a significant proportion of blood donors engage in charitable activities besides blood donation, with monetary donations and volunteer activities being particularly prominent. The number of blood donations during the COVID-19 pandemic negatively correlates with fear of contracting the virus at the donation site, with acknowledgement that confinement during the pandemic hinders donations, and that insufficient knowledge about the virus reduces the feeling of security to donate blood. Experiencing moderate-severity COVID symptoms significantly reduced the frequency of blood donations compared to those with milder symptoms. We also point out that applying the Moral Outrage and Reluctant Altruism Scales to a domestic sample of blood donors is promising; based on the scores obtained on the scales, the former construct is identified as a higher and the latter as a medium-effect motivational factor. Further testing of the validity of these measures on other volunteer samples is recommended. The two constructs do not show significant connection with the total number of blood donations or with the number of donations during the COVID-19 pandemic. We intend to further explore the reasons for these associations.

Keywords: voluntary blood donation, COVID-19 pandemic, barriers, moral outrage, reluctant altruism