BACKGROUND: We previously demonstrated in a group of mostly experienced blood donors that fear of blood draws was a significant predictor of vasovagal reactions. Importantly, being asked about one's fear immediately before donation did not increase reaction rates. This study further evaluates the relationship between fear and reactions among high school blood donors, who are known to be at a relatively greater risk for vasovagal reactions.
STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: Immediately after completing the blood donor health screening, 17- and 18-year-old high school students were asked about their fear of having blood drawn. Based on a random selection, the fear question was administered in approximately half of the schools, resulting in a final sample of 1715 donors who did and 1692 donors who did not answer the fear question.
RESULTS: Fear was a significant predictor of donor reactions and remained a significant independent predictor (along with estimated blood volume and donor sex) in a logistic regression analysis. There was no difference in the proportion of reactions observed between those who did and did not answer the predonation fear question.
CONCLUSION: Consistent with previous evidence in older and more experienced blood donors, these findings indicate that assessing fear of blood draws may help to identify those who are most likely to experience vasovagal reactions among young donors without increasing the frequency of such reactions.