Fear of blood draws and vasovagal reactions amongst teenage blood donors


Intravenous literature: France, C.R., France, J.L., Carlson, B.W., Himawan, L.K., Stephens, K.Y., Frame-Brown, T.A., Venable, G.A. and Menitove, J.E. (2013) Fear of blood draws, vasovagal reactions, and retention among high school donors. Transfuion. 5th August. .


Background – We previously demonstrated that fear of having blood drawn is one of the strongest known predictors of vasovagal reactions among high school blood donors. This report examines the combined effects of donor fear and experience of vasovagal reactions on repeat donation attempts among high school blood donors.

Study Design and Methods – Immediately after completing the blood donor health screening, 1715 high school students were asked about their fear of having blood drawn. The donor record was then used to collect information regarding their experience of vasovagal reactions at the time of donation as well as their subsequent donation attempts within the following year.

Results – Fear of having blood drawn and the experience of a vasovagal reaction each contributed to donor attrition, with only 33.2% of fearful donors who experienced a vasovagal reaction returning in the following year compared to 56.7% of nonfearful nonreactors. Path analyses demonstrated that fear has an indirect effect (through vasovagal reactions) on repeat donations among first-time donors and both direct and indirect effects on repeat donation attempts among experienced donors.

Conclusion – Among high school blood donors, fear of having blood drawn has both a direct negative effect on donor retention and an indirect negative effect by increasing the risk of vasovagal reactions. Accordingly, targeted efforts to reduce donor fear may be particularly efficient in promoting long-term donor loyalty among our youngest donors.

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