Community Norms and Blood Donation1


  • 1

    The author would like to express his appreciation to Carolyn Dempsey-Foss for assistance with the data collection and comments, and to Andrew Baum, Ann Paterson, Jane Piliavin, and Nancy Stout-Wiegand for helpful comments on an earlier version of this manuscrit.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Dr. Robert D. Foss, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, West Virginia University, College of Arts and Sciences, Morgantown, WV 26506.


It is suggested that for social psychological theory and research on helping to provide an adequate general explanation of helping, more attention must be paid to supraindividual factors. Most studies of blood donation have failed to take into account a number of factors that may influence donations at the level of the organization, community or collectivity. This study examines the possibility that specific community norms may emerge that have an influence on the donating behavior of community members. Perceived normative support was found to exist in different degrees in communities that provide different levels of behavioral support for bloodmobile visits, and persons who report a greater degree of perceived community support for donation are more likely to have donated in the past year. Implications for donor recruitment procedures are discussed.