Thesis Anne Wevers

On 17 May 2016 Anne Wevers defended her thesis 'Blood, sweat and fears: understanding and influencing blood donor behaviour' at the University of Nijmegen.

Promotor: Prof DHJ Wigboldus PhD and prof RB van Baaren PhD
Co-promotor: IJT Veldhuizen


Sanquin invites its blood donors using a personal invitation card asking them to donate blood. On average, 50% of the blood donors visit the blood bank for a blood donation. Our research showed that the main barrier to donating blood was ‘time constraints’. Furthermore, results showed that experiencing a pressure to donate blood emanating from the blood bank was not beneficial for return behaviour. 

Two interventions studies were set up to influence return behaviour of blood donors. The first intervention study aimed to influence first-time return behaviour of new blood donors by using different intervention techniques, like creating commitment and stimulating donors to plan a donation. A combination of these intervention techniques resulted in an 11.5% higher return rate, compared to a group that did not receive these techniques. These results seem promising, but a thorough understanding of the functioning of these different techniques is lacking. The second intervention study aimed to influence the return behaviour of blood donors with different reminder methods and reminder messages. Results showed that sending different reminders and different reminder messages did not significantly increase return behaviour of blood donors.

The limited success of the intervention studies shows that further research is needed to have a better understanding of blood donor behavior and that further research is needed to determine how well this behaviour is amenable to change.