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The Barriers And Motivators Of Australian Red Cross Blood Service

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Red Cross Blood service is one of the divisions of Australian Red Cross which funded by the whole Australian government in order to collect volunteersblood for saving life. In 1929, the first Australian Blood Transfusion Service as founded in Victoria state. Today, Red Cross Blood Service is the exclusive organization that help people to donate their blood, and then it is operating over 100 blood collection centres were built around the country and supported by over half million people. Moreover, Red Cross Blood service also provide blood testing service, consulting service, biological storage service, research and technology development service and global blood system communication service.

Currently, Red Cross is facing diversity threats from different areas which straight cause the number of donors cannot satisfy the demand of Australia. According to the Australian Red Cross Blood Service (2018) state that only 3% of Australian donors need to support about 34% of Australian demand. In order to reverse the current passive situation, many lofty ideals make research to donors’ motivators and barriers. On the one side, Fear of blood donation and cultural factors may affect people decision making negatively (Polonsky, Francis and Renzaho, 2015). On the other sides, more and more people are inspired to donate their blood by social impact and self-esteem reasons (Guiddi, Alfieri, Marta and Saturni, 2015).


Blood donation is limited by several barriers which cause the demand of blood products always more than donations. The barriers' reasons are variables such as religion, psychology activity, culture and limited information.

Culture issues

As the biggest nation of immigrants, over 28% of Australian was born overseas (Simon-Davies, 2018). Different immigrants take their own cultures from homeland which is the irreplaceable factor cause Australia economy and international fast-growth. However, blood donation not be identified by all the countries, some regions’ traditional viewpoint and religion resist blood transmission and organs donation which carried by new immigrants to Australia.

Religion Barrier

Most religions that include the Catholic Church, Islam and Buddhism encourage their believers to save others’ lives through blood donation. However, some religions think blood donation will pollute their body such as Jehovah's Witnesses. Jehovah's Witnesses are the most famous religion that forbids followers to donate blood or part of blood and accept blood production from others (Brydon, 2019).

Information Blocking

“Blood donation will hurt your health”, “You may die for bleeding” and “you may be contaminated by blood donation”. Those rumours easily hear from society. Information block and lack of promotion channels cause a lot of people do not know the process of donation and the development of donation method. According to Decristoforo, Stummer, Nohammer, Angerer, Schennach (2016) argue that education, parents affect and rumour affect the target audiences’ perception and awareness of blood donation when they are young. The young generation is hard to reverse their original viewpoint to blood donation that was accepted for a long time.


Oxford dictionary defined fear is a kind of bad feeling that people will have when they are in danger, or bad things will happen, or something that stimuli prior bad memory and experience. Fear is the alarm to human which warning people when the collapse is coming. According to Akhtar and Brown (2005), fear is a significant feeling to the human being because it’s one of the most valuable inheritance from ancient’s experience and memory. Most of the fear feeling is rooted in human’s gene such as fire, heights, carnivores and dark.

To blood donation, fears are the critical barrier. Majority of people do not want to donate their blood due to various fears. Fear of needle, fear of bleeding, fear of the unknown process of donation are the frequent reasons why people not willing to donate blood.

Fear of Needle

Needle fear also be called needle phobia that is a common issue among people who need to be treated. According to Cook (2016) research that about 23% interviewee admit that they are feeling uncomfortable and nervous when they need to be treated with the needle. Some people even were found arrhythmia and low blood pressure. To Red Cross Blood Service, the needle phobia are touchy problems that hard to solved by current technology and cure. It’s a kind of self-protection system that aims to defence external threatens (Luo and Lai, 2016). Thus, those people cannot be the positive person to blood donation promotion due to the fear of needle are able to influence their health.

Fear of Unknown

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown” was started by Lovecraft in 1927 (Joshi and Schultz, 2001). Carleton (2016) argue that the Human brain will produce a special sign to warn human that exterior environment exists unknown dangerous and threatening. The overwhelming most people know blood donation can save other life by a long-term promotion of the Red Cross. Nevertheless, the rate of donors still lower than the demand of the patient because they did not know specific information about blood donation. “Whether I will feel weak?”, “Whether I will ill easily after donation” and “Why Red Cross always need blood?’’. Those questions cause people to hesitate about their behaviour. In 2015, Australian Red Cross Cooperated with News corporate(ABC and BBS, social media platform and the Australian government to promote the campaign “Why the meaning of life is 42”. This activity successfully states the reason why the hospital needs blood regular. After this campaign, the rate of multiple-donors increasing dramatically.


According to Misje, Bosnes, Gåsdal and Heier (2005), the reason of becoming a donor could be summarized by 5 reasons: Empathy and Altruism; Social influence from outside; self-esteem promoting; previous experience with the donation; moral obligation.

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Empathy and Altruism hypothesis

Empathic concern generates altruistic motivation is the foundation of Empathy and Altruism hypothesis (Batson, 2010). Human is easily to resonate emotionally with the fellow’s feeling. For example, people will feel sad because someone suffering; people will feel responsible cause someone is helpless.

Emotional resonance is able to inspire human’s behaviour which is the basic reason for Altruism (FeldmanHall, Dalgleish, Evans and Mobbs, 2015), To blood donors, their behaviour could be explained by empathy concern and altruism. Because of blood donation cannot get any benefits or profits, it’s a kind of voluntary and unpaid behaviour that aims to save patients’ lives. Thus, Target audiences are informed of information from diversity intermediary channels such as social media, print publication and word of mouth (Mathez and Chapuis, 2006).

Social influence from people around

Human is a sort of social animals that imperceptibly influence othersNaround them such as, family members, colleagues and friends. Mostly, people’s habit and characteristics are originated from others influence unconsciously, for instance, smoking, drinking and donation (MacArthur, Jacob, Pound, Hickman and Campbell, 2017). According to Tajfel and Turner (1979) figure that behaviour influence can be explained by social identity theory that means group have the ability to change memberships’ behaviours by daily life and communication. Therefore, blood donors’ behaviour may be attributed to others affected. Quéniart (2016) research that blood donation had become some family tradition because kids are proud of their parents’ behaviour which influence their recognition to blood donation.


Maslow's hierarchy of needs divided human’s needs into 5 stages, Self-esteem are the higher need that pursued by people who has achieved lower level of need. According to Jian and Shin (2016) argue that someone who wants to achieve self-esteem may start to pursue recognition, higher status, more respect and commendation from peers and society. Blood donation is acknowledged as a gracious action due to blood donors willing to sacrifice their physical healthy short-term in order to save strangers’ life. Thus, blood donors are deemed as a hero which successfully achieved the self-esteem need.

Previous experience

Juliusson, Karlsson, and Garling (2005) stated that prior performance influences future decisions obviously. People tend to repeat previous decision making in order to make sure the success rate (Sagi, & Friedland, 2007). To human being, impression and experience are significant factors to draw on advantages and avoid disadvantages. Blood donation is a critical decision that needs strong evidence to support donors to decide. According to West, Toplak and Stanovich (2008) positive feeling will encourage people to the donation which can be generated by promotion, word of mouth and scientific research.

Moreover, Jaafar, Chong and Alavi (2017) claim that first time to blood donation is hard for everyone due to variety rumours and negative news. However, many donors willing to donate their blood again if they have active experience in blood donation.

Moral obligation

There are no general answers to explain moral obligation. Moral obligation has different definitions in different area. For instance, the moral obligations of restaurant industry could be food hygiene and staff insurance. To gambling industry, their moral obligations could be local employment or customer exhortation. Sometimes, people feel that they are responsible for helping others or repay society although there no laws to force them. Blood donation is a sort of way to show donors’ selfless and generosity. According to Valentine, K (2005) claim that blood donation behaviour is generated from human’s moral obligation. Some of the Blood donors just hold the idea of lifesaving to the donate centres because they did not know the identity of patients.

3 Gaps of motivators and barriers research

Although this report illustrates many motivators and barriers factors that influence peoples’ decision, the supportive reasons and research result should be taken a more objective observation by several elements. Firstly, the gap of generation may cause research incorrect with the current situation (Clark, 2009). Some of the research is based on the previous information and data that may have a difference to the recent condition which may cause research could not solve the problem.

Secondly, Geographic restrictions may cause research to deviate from the direction (Mulford, Wilson and Moore, 2009). This research aims to assist Australian Red Cross Blood Service to solve the local question, but some helpful article is based on other regions’ experience and issues which may not effective in Australia.

Next, the reliability of supportive information determined research success (Morse, Barrett, Mayan, Olson and Spiers, 2002). Every year, countless researches were proved invalid or lack evidence which may influence other research that based on their analysis. Lastly, psychological activities are the toughest part to be estimated and analysis by human. Researchers cannot formulate the idea of target people overall because it’s changing constantly. Donors will make an acceptable decision through the influence of motivation factors with obstructive factors.


In summary, the Red Cross Blood Service could improve the donation performance by realizing the motivators and barriers of blood donation. Empathy and Altruism, Social influence, self-esteem, previous experience with the donation and moral obligation could motivate people to do the right decision. Fears and cultural background may cause donors to hesitate to their decision. Among the persuasive factors, cultural background, social influence and human’s fear play a key role in decision making. Analysing the 3 factors to donors may directly promote Blood Service organization to achieve their goals.


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