Abstract
Background: Despite the increasing demands for blood and its products, some people, especially the youth, have little interest in donating blood. 
Objective: This study aimed to assess the university students’ awareness of and attitude towards blood donation. 
Methods: In this cross-sectional study, a descriptive analytical approach was used to examine awareness of and attitude towards blood donation among students in Semnan University of Medical Sciences, Semnan, Iran. The study was performed in 2015-2016. A total of 749 university students participated in this study. A special questionnaire was used to collect demographic information and the participants’ awareness of and attitude towards blood donation. Before beginning the main phase of the study, the reliability and validity of the questionnaire were examined and verified. The SPSS software, version 16, was used for statistical analysis. We used descriptive statistics, specifically chi-square and Friedman tests, to analyze the data. A p-value of <0.05 was considered significant.
Results: 63.55% of the participants were female. Only 9.74% of the participants had a history of blood donation. Based on the results, 253 participants (35.33%) had low awareness, 352 participants (49.16%) had moderate awareness, and 111 participants (15.5%) had good awareness of blood donation. In addition, 176 participants (23.59%) had negative attitude, 438 participants (58.71%) had moderate attitude, and only 132 participants (17.69%) had good attitude towards blood donation. Results also showed a statistically significant relationship between gender and awareness of the history of blood donation (p=0.047). However, there was no significant relationship between gender and attitude towards blood donation (p=0.27). When asked about their favorite method of receiving information about blood donation, 376 participants (50.2%) preferred social media.
Conclusion: A considerable percentage of students have low awareness of and negative attitude towards blood donation. The low awareness and negative attitude towards blood donation can be considered as important factors contributing to the lack of interest and poor participation in blood donation among this population. Therefore, there is a critical need for training and culture building activities and programs in order to increase university students’ awareness and improve their attitude towards blood donation.

 

 
Keywords: Blood, Blood donation, Awareness, Attitude, University students

 

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