Background: Blood donation is a prosocial altruistic act that is motived by the mechanisms that underlie altruism (e.g., warm-glow, reciprocity, fairness/trust). Because there is consistent evidence that altruism and its mechanisms show cross-cultural variability, in the present paper we make the case for a cross-cultural perspective in blood donor research.
Methods: We analyse a subset of variables from a larger study, with samples drawn from seven countries (England, Malta, the Netherlands, Australia, USA, Hungary, Italy: average N per country = 282). This subset of variables focuses on health (organ donor registration) and non-health (volunteering, donating money) philanthropy, family traditions of helping, and moral outrage as predictors of blood donor status.
Results: We show two cross-cultural universals: 1) organ donor registration in opt-in countries is positively associated with blood donor status and 2) non-health philanthropy is generally unrelated to blood donor status. We also show two country specific effects: 1) a family tradition for helping is associated with blood donor status in Italy only and 2) moral outrage is a predictor only in the USA.
Conclusions: We contend that these findings provide proof of principle why a cross-cultural perspective on blood donor behaviour is needed.