Background: This contribution is an exploratory study of a target population - adolescents - that has been little investigated, as emerges from the analysis of the national and international literature on blood donation (Lemmens et al., 2009). As regards the recruitment of volunteers, young people represent a potential of great interest, not only for the blood supply that they could provide and a possible “career” in donation that they could take up, but also for the promotion of healthy lifestyles by fostering in them a greater awareness of their health and their contribution to the development of a mature and responsible civic culture. In fact, recent research demonstrated that, although adolescents are ideal candidates for blood donation (due to their health, sensitivity, and the possibility of a “long journey” as blood donors), they nevertheless reveal themselves to be uninformed and, therefore, constitute a smaller presence in the donor population (Caligaris et al., 2006). It often happens that young people who arrive at blood collection centres turn out to be inappropriate for donation because of health problems (due to drug use, unprotected sexual activity, high alcohol levels, etc.). Aims: Aim of this work is to investigate the propensity in blood donation, the diffusion of risk behaviors among adolescents that limit and restrict the potential of blood donation, reducing the number of possible subjects suitable for donation, and the possible link between this propensity and risk behaviors. Methods: Adolescents were asked to complete an anonymous self-report questionnaire during class time. The questionnaire included items ad hoc designed to investigate the intention to donate blood and behaviors traditionally considered “at risk” for health in adolescence. Participants are 201 students of North Italy (Range 12-19, M=17.98, SD=1.82), 38,9% male, and 61,1% female. Results: About half of respondents perceives they are able to donate blood, and can exceed any obstacle that restrains its implementation. Some of the examined risk behaviors are widespread in the considered population (just as an example, the 49.3% reported they currently consume tobacco, 30.7% had used drugs). The linear regressios run shows that there is no link between the propensity to give blood and the attitude to take risk behaviors. Conclusions: The study shows that adolescents manifests interest in blood donation, saying they want to become donors. In parallel, however, it shows a real lack of ”acting” for making it happens: there is indeed a serious lack of attention to matters relating to healthy lifestyles. In fact, adolescents are not aware of how to behave to access in the world of donation, with the risk that they present themselves for blood donations and then they are unsuitable. The research offers many some suggestions and implications.
- Blood donation
- risk behavior