BACKGROUND: Using constructs from the Theory of Planned Behavior and theories of altruism, this article explores how multiple motivations and beliefs for blood donation are clustered and change across the donor career. In so doing important distinctions, for blood donation, between impure altruism, pure altruism, and warm glow are explored.
STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: Measures of intentions, cognitive and affective attitudes, role merger, pure altruism, trust, self-efficacy, subjective and moral norms, and habit formation were assessed in a sample of 12,580 whole blood donors. Analyses showed that a distinction between first-time, novice (one to four donations), and experienced donors (five or more donations) is justified. Principal components analysis and confirmatory factor analytic Multiple-Indicator Multiple-Causal models were used to compare models across these groups.
RESULTS: A cognition-behavior (CB) factor, including intentions, was common to all groups. First-time and novice donors were marked by a newly identified motivational factor: “reluctant altruism” (i.e., the motivation to donate because of a lack of trust in others). First-time donors exhibited an impure altruism factor whereas for experienced donors warm glow and pure altruism factors were observed. For first-time donors impure altruism and reluctant altruism were both associated with the CB factor in females and impure altruism only in males. For both sexes reluctant altruism was associated of the CB factor in novice donors and warm glow and pure altruism for experienced donors.
CONCLUSIONS: New avenues for intervention are suggested by the emergence of reluctant altruism for novice donors and warm glow for experienced donors. The importance of distinguishing aspects of altruism is highlighted.