Russian students’ awareness of and attitudes toward donating to biobanks
Today in Russia and all over the world significant efforts are invested in building biobanks—specialized facilities for storing biological materials for research and medical purposes. The successful functioning of biobanks depends directly on people’s willingness to donate their biological materials. No previous studies of people’s attitudes toward donations to biobanks have been undertaken in Russia. The goal of this study was to measure attitudes toward biobank donation among young Russians and to evaluate potential sociodemographic and personality factors that play a role in a person’s readiness to become a donor. Data from 542 students at Saint Petersburg State University were collected from group-administered paper-and-pencil questionnaires. Only one-fifth of the students knew about the existence of biobanks, while roughly the same number believed they might have heard something about them but were not absolutely certain. However, the students indicated a relatively high level of readiness to become biobank donors (74%). Willingness to be a biobank donor was correlated significantly with studying biology and was just modestly correlated with students’ values. In addition, we found gender-specific differences in the biobank characteristics that students felt were important in making a decision about whether to donate. The study demonstrated that today the attitudes of the general population (at least, those of the subgroup studied, students) do not pose a problem for the further development of biobanking in Russia.