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The Power of Philanthropy and Volunteering

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Abstract

This chapter reviews research on the relationship between giving money (i.e., philanthropy) and time (i.e., volunteering) and givers' psychological wellbeing. It summarize a wide body of research literature suggesting correlational, longitudinal, and experimental links between giving time and money to others and psychological wellbeing. The chapter examines the extent to which these effects generalize across cultures, circumstances, types of givers, and types of recipients. Because most of the literature also does not offer explanations as to why giving should improve psychological wellbeing, it also outlines a potential neurobiological model that may help to explain such an effect. This theoretical model of caregiving motivation can help to specify under which situations, and why, giving should lead to better living. The chapter ends with a discussion of practical implications of this review for both givers and nonprofit organizations.

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... Across 23 countries, between 7 and 67% of their respective population were volunteers (Plagnol & Huppert, 2010), highlighting both the prevalence and variability in volunteering practices. Prosociality is not only highly common, but also a vital linchpin of society-altruism, cooperation, trust, and compassion are all necessary ingredients of a harmonious and well-functioning society (see, e.g., Konrath, 2014;Penner, Dovidio, Piliavin, & Schroeder, 2005;Wilson, 2000, for reviews). Unsurprisingly, the topic has attracted extensive attention from different disciplines, including anthropology, economics, evolutionary biology, and psychology (e.g., Andreoni, 1989;Dunn, Aknin, & Norton, 2008;Fehr & Fischbacher, 2003;Henrich et al., 2006). ...
... Despite the burgeoning state of research related to prosociality and well-being-over 55,750 hits were obtained from five electronic bibliographic databases-reviews and meta-analyses examining the effect of prosociality on well-being are quite scarce. In a recent review, Konrath (2014) systematically summarized the studies on giving time and money, and their links to well-being. There is also another review on older adults suggesting that volunteering among seniors is associated with reduced depression, better health, fewer functional limitations, and lower mortality (Anderson et al., 2014). ...
... Formal helping is either for the betterment of the community or for a specific group of people who are in need, usually planned, and carried out in the context of organizations. On the other hand, informal helping refers to spontaneous daily helping acts, in the form of private and unorganized assistance toward nonrelatives (Konrath, 2014;Wilson & Musick, 1997). While formal helping and informal helping are moderately correlated, r ϭ .42 ...
Article
In recent decades, numerous studies have suggested a positive relationship between prosociality and well-being. What remains less clear are (a) what the magnitude of this relationship is, and (b) what the moderators that influence it are. To address these questions, we conducted a meta-analysis to examine the strength of the prosociality to well-being link under different operationalizations, and how a set of theoretical, demographic, and methodological variables moderate the link. While the results revealed a modest overall mean effect size (r = .13, K = 201, N = 198,213) between prosociality and well-being, this masked the substantial variability in the effect as a function of numerous moderators. In particular, the effect of prosociality on eudaimonic well-being was stronger than that on hedonic well-being. Prosociality was most strongly related to psychological functioning-showing a more modest relationship with psychological malfunctioning and physical health. Using prosociality scales was more strongly associated with well-being than using measures of volunteering/helping frequency or status. In addition, informal helping (vs. formal helping) was linked to more well-being benefits. Demographically, younger givers exhibited higher levels of well-being other than physical health, while older and retired givers reported better physical health only. Female givers showed stronger relationships between prosociality and eudaimonic well-being, psychological malfunctioning, and physical health. Methodologically, the magnitude of the link was stronger in studies using primary (vs. secondary) data and with higher methodological rigor (i.e., measurement reliability and validity). We discussed all of these results and implications and suggested directions for future research. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
... Examining the downstream consequences of gift giving is important because the same behavior (i.e., giving a gift) may produce different subsequent behaviors due to different underlying motivations. However, research examining the motives underlying the same prosocial behaviors is relatively scant (Konrath, 2013). While some previous research suggests that prosocial behaviors may increase indulgent consumption (e.g., Khan & Dhar, 2006), we propose that different motives underlying gift giving will lead to different levels of luxury indulgence. ...
... By revealing a novel effect, this research not only contributes to the literature on prosocial behavior more generally and gift giving in particular but also to the literature on luxury consumption. According to a recent review (Konrath, 2013), there is only initial evidence for differential effects of motivations underlying prosocial behavior. We contribute evidence to this notion in consumer research by revealing that altruistic giving affects consumers' subsequent willingness to indulge in affordable luxury to a greater extent than normative giving. ...
... Based on previous work (e.g., Konrath, 2013), we expected altruistic givers to experience positive feelings of warm glow to a greater extent than givers with a normative motive. In this research, we used perceived morality of indulgences as a way to test positive affect maintenance via a moderation-of-process design (Spencer et al., 2005). ...
Article
Consumers may self-indulge in luxury for several reasons. This research examines the effect of giving a gift on the giver’s subsequent indulgence in affordable luxury and finds that the motivation underlying gift giving matters: Consumers giving with an altruistic motivation (i.e., to voluntarily make the gift recipient happy) are more likely to self-indulge in affordable luxury than consumers giving with a normative motivation (i.e., to follow a social norm). This effect depends on perceived morality of indulgences, such that willingness to indulge increases to the extent that altruistic gift givers perceive indulgences to be more morally acceptable.
... Volunteers could also generate large positive externalities by providing useful services to otherwise under served communities. The results are also conceptually important for the large literature on the benefits of pro-social behavior on the doer (Konrath, 2012). Despite being vast, the existing literature is uninformative on the causal effects at the population level. ...
... A parallel literature has found a positive association between volunteering and the volunteer's subjective mental wellbeing (Konrath, 2012;Lum and Lightfoot, 2005). Subjective mental wellbeing includes emotions like depression, feelings of isolation and levels of happiness. ...
... In 2012, 64.5 million volunteers in the US (26.5% of the population) provided 7.9 billion hours of service, worth an estimated $175 billion (Corporation for National & Community Service, n.d.). As summarized in recent reviews, volunteering is associated with better physical health outcomes (Konrath, 2014;Konrath and Brown, 2013). For example, compared to non-volunteers, volunteers report engaging in fewer health risk behaviors (e.g., smoking, drinking, sedentary lifestyles; Harris and Thoresen, 2005;Musick et al., 1999;Shmotkin et al., 2003). ...
... However, prior research has found that people are accurate at recalling health care use behaviors (Cleary and Jette, 1984;Reijneveld and Stronks, 2001;Ritter et al., 2001). Despite these limitations, our findings are consistent with a substantial body of research demonstrating that volunteering is linked with enhanced mental and physical health (Konrath, 2014;Konrath and Brown, 2013). This body of evidence helps temper the likelihood that findings from this study are spurious or due to mis-reported health care use, but we recommend using more objective data, such as medical records, in future studies. ...
... Philanthropy has an important role in the lives of donors and recipients of philanthropy. There is burgeoning research on the benefits to donors and volunteers, such as enhanced longevity (Konrath, 2014;C. Smith & Davidson, 2014). ...
... Smith & Davidson, 2014). More important, as depicted in the work of Gaudiani (2003) [not in ref list], Konrath (2014), and C. Smith and Davidson (2014), philanthropy touches all people in many ways from birth, throughout their lives (education, training, health and human services, the arts, etc.), to their deaths (hospice). Philanthropy makes a difference in all people's lives, and for many, it is a huge "difference maker. ...
Article
In this paper, we draw on a critical theory perspective to address the question, would a minimally invasive accreditation process be wise, possible, and credible? We do this by first providing an assessment of what we see as current oppressive structures that accreditation would likely affirm rather than challenge. Next, we present evidence from the literature on the consequences of accreditation. We suggest that although accreditation might be possible, it may not be wise or credible if we are concerned with preparing students for social change efforts. Finally, we present an alternative approach to thinking about and providing nonprofit management education.
... Within non-clinical populations, there are many studies demonstrating associations between empathy-related traits and behaviors and good mental and physical health (for reviews, see ( Batson, 2011;Konrath, 2013;Post, 2007). These studies cover traits such as empathy, compassion, altruism, narcissism (low empathy plus inflated selfesteem), and generativity (concern for future generations) and behaviors such as giving support to others, volunteering for non-profit organizations, and caring for animals. ...
... Experience Corps; Fried et al., 2004;Hong & Morrow-Howell, 2010). Yet there is consistent evidence that people who regularly volunteer for non-profit organizations have better psychological and physical health, even when considering a variety of potential confounds (Konrath, 2013;. Importantly, a recent study found that in order to receive a health benefit of volunteering, people had to be motivated by care for others. ...
Chapter
The current chapter summarizes research on empathy in terms of its benefits and costs. The majority of research on empathy finds desirable correlates. For example, high empathy is associated with more prosocial behaviors and stronger relationships with others. Yet, excessive empathy can also be problematic in a variety of ways. Taken together, the positives and negatives of empathy can best be understood within an evolutionary framework in which empathy evolved to address issues of survival and reproduction. Empathy seems to facilitate caregiving behavior to close others, at the expense of outgroups and society at larger, and sometimes (but not always), at the expense of the self.
... Finally, other studies explore the link between happiness and philanthropy activities. Results show that charitable giving can increase givers' psychological well-being [65], but giving money is also good for the receiver as it allows him/her to increased health, prosperity and strong community organizations ( [66,67]). Among the latter strand of well-being determinants, there are the grant-making activities by Italian Bank Foundations (BFs). ...
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Recent years witnessed a growing interest in the concept of well-being and quality of life, as alternative to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The determinants of well-being, especially at the regional and provincial levels, is understudied in a macro perspective, as opposed to a micro perspective (individuals, survey data) that has been the dominant approach until recently. In this paper, we estimate an empirical model for the Italian NUTS-3 provinces to evaluate the role of social capital on well-being by using aggregated (provincial) data. Our findings suggest that social capital, social security programs, income, and grant-making activities by Bank Foundations, even though not uniformly distributed across Italy, positively affect well-being, thus contributing to explain the persistent dualism that characterizes the Italian economy.
... The Empathy-Altruism theory suggests that experiencing empathy for a person in need leads to a genuinely altruistic motivation that could lead to helping behavior. Many studies have shown that helping other people increases the helper's well-being (Konrath, 2014). ...
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Background: Evidence suggests that facilitating empathy could improve individuals' well-being. Loving-kindness meditation (LKM) could be a facilitator, and online delivery a cost-effective format. Methods: We conducted an internet-based randomised controlled trial recruiting 809 adults to test whether an LKM course improves well-being through evoking pleasant emotions, psychological resources, and altruism compared to a light physical exercise course (LE). Participants in both arms followed video-based instructions, completed post-intervention questionnaires, and used online diaries and forums. To measure altruism £10/$10 were offered to participants with a choice of donating all/half to charity. Thematic analysis was applied to diary/forum entries. Results: Both courses increased well-being without significant differences. LKM participants were less anxious than LE participants (ß = -0.22, 95% confidence interval (CI) [-0.43, -0.02], p = .03), and more likely to donate £5/$5 (Relative Risk = 3.57, 95%CI [0.82, 15.50], p = .09). Attrition was high (82%). Participants engaged in diary/forum usage. LKM was an emotionally intense experience, generating deep reflections and increased connectedness but difficult for some to process. LE led to gentle increases in relaxation, generating a sense of achievement. Conclusions: Future research needs to confirm findings and devise ways of delivering online LKM effectively to diverse populations.
... As humility research advances, we may discover humility to be the catalyst in internal shift processes in relating to others and increased spirituality. For example, humility in terms of rightly ordered self in relation to God and others may promote an intrinsic motivation to help others that derives from a genuine desire for their well-being, as opposed to helping others for self-centered reasons (Konrath, 2014). These complex transitions can be studied once foundation research in humility is advanced. ...
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Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) offers a live stage to study how humility is worn by thousands for another day of sobriety and more freedom from the bondage of self. It has been the coauthors’ intent to emphasize the significance of humility as a cardinal virtue across the 12-Step program and as essential to all its key elements. The coauthors have placed this emphasis in the context of a wider theological history of thought as this converged on Bill W. and AA. In addition, the coauthors have offered a constructive developmental interpretation of the 12 Steps that relies on a model of four modulations of humility. Finally, the coauthors have reviewed in brief some approaches to the measurement of humility in this context, and suggest several aims for future research.
... A recent strand of the well-being literature instead found social security programs to improve the overall quality of human life (Haller andHadler 2006, andPacek andRadcliff 2008), while other studies explore the link between happiness and philanthropy activities. Results shows that charitable giving can increase givers' psychological well-being (Konrath 2014), but giving money is also good for the receiver as it increased health, prosperity and strong community organizations (Aknin et al. 2010, andBrooks 2006). ...
Working Paper
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In recent years, a significant number of papers has been published providing alternative measures of progress and well-being to Gross Domestic Product. Most of these papers differs in terms of their theoretical approach as well as their purpose and statistical methodology used to define what well-being is and how to measure it. In this paper, we construct a well-being indicator for the Italian provinces that shows a high degree of heterogeneity not only between the Northern and Southern Italian provinces, but also among adjacent provinces.
... Such pro-social behavior may circle back to produce improved population health outcomes. Although this goes beyond the scope of the data, an extensive literature has found that even a limited amount of volunteer work is associated with decreased psychological distress, (Thoits and Hewitt 2001) higher life satisfaction, reduced risk behavior, better physical health, and lower mortality (Konrath 2014). The narrowing of racial and ethnic differences in volunteerism that followed Medicaid expansions suggests then that greater availability of insurance coverage may be reducing health inequalities in indirect ways. ...
Article
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Do public health policy interventions result in pro-social behaviors? The Affordable Care Act (ACA)'s Medicaid expansions were responsible for the largest gains in public insurance coverage since its inception in 1965. These gains were concentrated in states that opted to expand Medicaid eligibility and provide a unique opportunity to study not just medical but also social consequences of increased public health coverage. This article examines the association between Medicaid and volunteer work. Volunteerism is implicated in individuals' health and well-being yet it is highly correlated with a person's existing socioeconomic resources. Medicaid expansions improved financial security and a sense of health-two factors that predict volunteer work-for a socioeconomic group that has had low levels of volunteerism. Difference-in-difference analyses of the Volunteer Supplement of the Current Population Survey (2010-2015) find increased reports of formal volunteering for organizations as well as informal helping behaviors between neighbors for low-income non-elderly adults who would have likely benefited from expansions. Furthermore, increased volunteer work associated with Medicaid was greater among minority groups and narrowed existing ethnic differences in volunteerism in states that expanded Medicaid eligibility.
... Volunteering is defined as doing work for other people or for an organization willingly or without being forced or paid to do it. It has been shown that voluntary work has important economic consequences in terms of creating economic value 1 while providing intrinsic benefits to volunteers in terms of their health and well-being (Aknin et al. 2013;Konrath 2014) and happiness (Lawton et al. 2021). ...
Article
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We use the extension of compulsory education from five to eight years in Turkey as an instrument for educational attainment to investigate the causal effects of education on voluntary work by utilizing Turkish Time Use Survey data. Existing studies use ordinary least squares regressions and establish a positive and significant association; however, such correlation may be induced by the endogeneity problems such as omitted variable bias and reverse causality. In line with the previous studies, our OLS results also show that there is a positive association between schooling and men’s voluntary work. However, when we use the education reform as an instrument for education, a different picture emerges. The exogenous education reform increased the education levels of individuals significantly. Using the education reform as an instrument for education level, we find that increased education of compliers has a negative but insignificant causal impact on the probability and hours of voluntary work for men. Our results suggest that omitted individual factors such as ability and intelligence, and unobservable family characteristics such as values and social norms are likely to have played a role in the positive association of education with voluntary work found in OLS studies.
... Whillans, Seider, et al., 2016). Although numerous studies have documented a multitude of wellbeing benefits stemming from prosociality (Aknin, Whillans, Dunn, & Norton, in press;Dunn, Aknin, & Norton, 2014;Konrath, 2014), fewer studies have examined individual differences in the positive mood benefits of helping others. There has been an increased recognition that neurobiological factors can shape emo-tional experiences as well as the proclivity to help other people (Chen, Barth, Johnson, Gotlib, & Johnson, 2011;Park, Kahnt, Dogan, Strang, Fehr, & Tobler, 2017;Poulin & Holman, 2013;Poulin, Holman, & Buffone, 2012;Rodrigues, Saslow, Garcia, John, & Keltner, 2009; Saphire-Bernstein, Way, Kim, Sherman, & Taylor, 2011;Tost et al., 2010). ...
Article
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Who benefits most from helping others? Previous research suggests that common polymorphisms of the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) predict whether people behave generously and experience increases in positive mood in response to socially focused experiences in daily life. Building on these findings, we conducted an experiment with a large, ethnically homogenous sample (N = 437) to examine whether individual differences in three frequently studied single nucleotide polymorphisms of OXTR (rs53576, rs2268498, rs2254298) also predict differences in the positive mood benefits of financial generosity. Consistent with past research, participants who were randomly assigned to purchase items for others (vs. themselves) reported greater positive affect. Contrary to predictions, using Bayesian statistics, we found conclusive evidence that the benefits of generosity were not moderated by individual differences in OXTR single nucleotide polymorphisms. The current work highlights the importance of publishing null results to build cumulative knowledge linking neurobiological factors to positive emotional experiences.
... Even where the intended goal is 'given', one cannot ensure that it is perfectly adopted by each participant. The seeming universality of monetary gain as an incentive does not preclude other 'psychic profits' as individual aims (see Mises, 1998: 287), such as the gratification one gets from self-sacrifice for the benefit of others (Binder and Freytag, 2013;Konrath, 2012). ...
Article
The aim of this article is to expound the subjectivist position on the concept of ‘rationality.’ To begin, we review the longstanding and still ongoing debate in philosophy over the differences (or not) between the natural and social sciences. While positivism, which supposes no difference between the sciences, has been the tradition whence the economic rationality construct (homo economicus and its modern variants) has derived, a longstanding interpretivist tradition holds that social science is innately distinct from, and should be studied differently than, the natural sciences. From this interpretivist vantage, we assess and critique the positivist conception of rationality and put forth a subjectivist account of rationality as a process in its stead. Rationality here emerges as an intentional process of betterment over time. Because entrepreneurship is definitionally such a process, we explore the implications of this process rationality for entrepreneurial action theory.
... From both theoretical and practical points of view, it might be more reasonable to shift the focus from the 'chicken and egg' question to the positive feedback loop such that prosocial behavior begets well-being and well-being begets prosocial behavior, and so on. In fact, a few studies have suggested the possibility of this positive feedback loop [12,17,41,42]. The present review primarily summarizes all up-to-date empirical evidence in this area and discusses the mechanisms in further detail. ...
Article
The extant literature is mostly dichotomized into examining the effect of either prosocial behavior on well-being or well-being on prosocial behavior. After reviewing the emerging line of research on the positive feedback loop between prosocial behavior and well-being, I integrate all up-to-date empirical findings to present a reciprocal model where prosocial behavior begets well-being and well-being begets prosocial behavior. This paper provides fresh insights including the moderating roles of prosocial behavior and well-being, and fading (and anti-fading) of the positive feedback loop. I also offer various promising lines of inquiry for future work and highlight powerful and ecologically-valid research designs, such as experience-sampling studies and multiple-time point field experiments to capture the dynamic interplay between prosocial behavior and well-being.
... We postulate that joyful volunteer experiences in MagicAid may help to reinforce the meaning of patient care, which could serve as integral to student well-being and sense of renewal. This is consistent with prior literature on volunteerism, which has identified similar findings in service learning experiences [31]. In addition to the mental health benefits of volunteering, we also surmise that engagement with Magic-Aid may counter the reported decline in empathy among medical students in the clinical years [32], as other programs with patient interactions have been effective in improving empathic character [33] and service learning experiences in medical school are associated with increased empathy scores [34]. ...
Article
Objective Effectively training medical students in compassion, communication, and empathy is essential in fostering a holistic approach to patient care. We sought to address this by implementing an early clinical experience service learning program for medical students in the initial years of their medical education.Methods Medical students at Stony Brook University initiated, designed, and facilitated the volunteer program, which provides students a framework to learn magic therapy and engage with pediatric patients. The program includes an introductory presentation, training course, and organized bedside sessions with patients. To evaluate the program, a sample of participants partook in a focus group, written questionnaire, and/or online survey.ResultsFrom 2015 to 2020, 130 students participated in magic therapy rounds, engaging 1391 patients. Nine themes of student benefit emerged from qualitative analysis, including acquisition of familiarity with the hospital and healthcare team, cultivation of communication skills, contribution to improvement of patient affect, development of empathic qualities and techniques, and improvement in psychological health. Students were very satisfied with their experiences and viewed the activity as helpful for patients, parents, staff, and themselves.Conclusions The program engaged students in compassionate patient care within a holistic approach to patient care early in training.
Research
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En vue de l'obtention du DIPLÔME DE PSYCHOLOGUE ALTRUISME ET BIEN-ÊTRE : Etude comparative de l'effet des gestes hédonistes et des gestes de générosité sur l'état affectif du jeune adulte. Effectué sous la direction de : Madame Evelyn ROSSET Promotion : 2014 Option : Psychopathologie clinique Mots clés : Altruisme, Bien-être, Psychologie Positive Jury de soutenance : Lyon, le :
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Although it is well known that volunteering is associated with happiness, little has been examined regarding associations between volunteering and happiness according to the type of volunteering and the volunteer’s economic standing. The data used in this study were drawn from the 2012 Korean General Social Survey, a nationally representative survey. Multiple regression techniques were used to examine associations between three volunteering types (for a residential community, with an educational purpose, or for socially vulnerable groups) and happiness, and if and how their associations vary by the volunteers’ household income. The findings showed that volunteer activities for a residential community and for socially vulnerable groups were positively associated with happiness after controlling for sociodemographic factors, but they were not significant after controlling for personality traits, generalized trust, and self-rated health. An examination of the interactions between each volunteering type and household income revealed that the association between volunteering for socially vulnerable groups and happiness varied by income. Volunteering for socially vulnerable groups was more positively associated with happiness as income level increased. However, it turned out to be negatively associated with happiness for low-income volunteers. The findings suggest that the effects of volunteering on happiness are complicated by the characteristics of volunteering and the social conditions of the volunteers.
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Scholars have presented compelling evidence that participation in voluntary sector organizations (VSOs)—which is primarily motivated by the desire to help society—also benefits volunteers. The objective of this article is to determine whether and how these positive impacts vary across the type of VSO where individuals volunteer. We examine European Value Survey and World Value Survey data from 18 advanced industrial democracies using multilevel regression models to establish the link between VSO participation and three individual health and welfare (IHW) outcomes: an individual's self‐reported health status, financial satisfaction, and overall life satisfaction. Our findings indicate (1) that the relationship between voluntary sector participation and positive IHW outcomes depends on the type of VSO where individuals volunteer and (2) that heterogeneous VSO exposure is also positively related to IHW. We emphasize that voluntary sector participation has heterogeneous impacts that variously determine outcomes depending on the type of VSO where an individual chooses to participate.
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Evidence of the correlation between volunteering and wellbeing has been gradually accumulating, but to date this research has had limited success in accounting for the factors that are likely to drive self-selection into volunteering by ‘happier’ people. To better isolate the impact that volunteering has on people’s wellbeing, we explore nationally representative UK household datasets with an extensive longitudinal component, to run panel analysis which controls for the previous higher or lower levels of SWB that volunteers report. Using first-difference estimation within the British Household Panel Survey and Understanding Society longitudinal panel datasets (10 waves spanning about 20 years), we are able to control for higher prior levels of wellbeing of those who volunteer, and to produce the most robust quasi-causal estimates to date by ensuring that volunteering is associated not just with a higher wellbeing a priori, but with a positive change in wellbeing. Comparison of equivalent wellbeing values from previous studies shows that our analysis is the most realistic and conservative estimate to date of the association between volunteering and subjective wellbeing, and its equivalent wellbeing value of £911 per volunteer per year on average to compensate for the wellbeing increase associated with volunteering. It is our hope that these values can be incorporated into decision-making at the policy and practitioner level, to ensure that the societal benefits provided by volunteering are better understood and internalised into decisions.
Chapter
As a companion/complement to Handbook Chapter 52, this chapter further reviews research on the positive consequences of volunteering for the volunteer as a participant or member in voluntary membership associations (MAs) or in volunteer service programs (VSPs; see Handbook Chapter 15). Some consequences of volunteering are immediate, as positive felt affects/emotions and positive cognitions/perceptions from an activity, reviewed here in Section D, 1. Other consequences, more commonly the focus of volunteer impact research, are longer term, over days, months, and years. The latter are mainly reviewed in Chapter 52, but also reviewed partly here in Section D, 2, for longer-term happiness and well-being effects.
Chapter
This chapter reviews evidence that social statuses, roles, and other demographic variables influence formal volunteering (FV) and association participation. Dominant status theory (DST) predicts greater participation for individuals with a more dominant (valued and preferred by the socio-cultural system) social status or set of these, such as higher socio-economic status (SES) or involvement in a higher status religion (Smith 1994). The validity of Smith’s revised dominant status theory (RDST), as stated here, is compared with the validity of Wilson’s (2000) resource-capital theory (R-CT), which predicts more volunteering for individuals who have more of various kinds of resources-capital. Although differential validation is difficult, we argue that RDST is superior in giving a more nuanced approach to resources that explains their variations in explanatory/predictive power across contemporary societies and over historical time in any society. Recent research by Smith (2016b) on Russian national sample interview data confirms that the psychology of RDST is far more important than the resources of R-CT.
Chapter
This chapter reviews research on the longer-term consequences of volunteering for the volunteer as a participant or member in a voluntary membership association (MA) or in a Volunteer Service Program (VSP; see Handbook Chapter 15). Some consequences are immediate, as positive or negative felt affects/emotions from an activity (see the following Chapter 53 of this Handbook). Other consequences, more commonly the focus of volunteer impact research, are longer term, over days, months, and years, as mainly reviewed in this chapter (but also reviewed partly in Chapter 53, for longer-term happiness and well-being effects).
Chapter
We review research on physiological correlates of volunteering, a neglected but promising research field. Some of these correlates seem to be causal factors influencing volunteering. Volunteers tend to have better physical health, both self-reported and expert-assessed, better mental health, and perform better on cognitive tasks. Research thus far has rarely examined neurological, neurochemical, hormonal, and genetic correlates of volunteering to any significant extent, especially controlling for other factors as potential confounds. Evolutionary theory and behavioral genetic research suggest the importance of such physiological factors in humans. Basically, many aspects of social relationships and social activities have effects on health (e.g., Newman and Roberts 2013; Uchino 2004), as the widely used biopsychosocial (BPS) model suggests (Institute of Medicine 2001). Studies of formal volunteering (FV), charitable giving, and altruistic behavior suggest that physiological characteristics are related to volunteering, including specific genes (such as oxytocin receptor [OXTR] genes, Arginine vasopressin receptor [AVPR] genes, dopamine D4 receptor [DRD4] genes, and 5-HTTLPR). We recommend that future research on physiological factors be extended to non-Western populations, focusing specifically on volunteering, and differentiating between different forms and types of volunteering and civic participation (cf. Cnaan and Park 2016; Smith 2014; see Handbook Chapter 31: Section D, #1).
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The goal of this study is to investigate the relationship between philanthropy and life satisfaction, using data from 142 countries. The results show that philanthropy rates are significantly and positively associated with subjective wellbeing. A one standard deviation increase in philanthropy rates is associated with slightly less than half-standard deviation rises in life satisfaction. This association remains significant even after the introduction of a rich set of socio-economic controls.
Chapter
This chapter has two themes: (1) the scope of formal and informal volunteering and of nonprofit, voluntary, Membership Associations (MAs) in the world, by which we mean the quantitative magnitudes of these phenomena at or near the present time, and (2) the long term and recent (past few decades) trends in these magnitudes. Global data are used, when available, but we also report data for world regions and for specific nations when feasible. We also report on estimated magnitudes of MA wealth and income, the economic value of volunteering, internal structures and processes of MAs, participation rates in MAs, methodological problems, and issues regarding computer mapping of data such as that presented in this chapter. Usable knowledge, future trends, and needed research are discussed.
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Pro-social spending is associated with greater happiness than spending money on oneself (Dunn, Aknin, & Norton, 2008). However, research has yet to identify who is most likely to benefit from spending money on others, and why pro-social spending leads to greater happiness. The current study had two goals: (a) to examine whether values moderate the relation between pro-social spending and happiness, and (b) to test if psychological need satisfaction mediates this link. First, there was support for our interaction hypothesis. We found the positive relation between pro-social spending and happiness was only significant for individuals higher, and not those lower, on self-transcendence values (i.e., a concern for persons and entities outside of the individual). Additionally, the link from pro-social spending to happiness was mediated by psychological need satisfaction only for individuals higher on self-transcendence. We discuss why individuals who do not endorse a value system that emphasizes a concern for others experience no increased happiness from increased pro-social spending.
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In three field studies, we explore the impact of providing employees and teammates with prosocial bonuses, a novel type of bonus spent on others rather than on oneself. In Experiment 1, we show that prosocial bonuses in the form of donations to charity lead to happier and more satisfied employees at an Australian bank. In Experiments 2a and 2b, we show that prosocial bonuses in the form of expenditures on teammates lead to better performance in both sports teams in Canada and pharmaceutical sales teams in Belgium. These results suggest that a minor adjustment to employee bonuses - shifting the focus from the self to others - can produce measurable benefits for employees and organizations.
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This paper employs a unique new data set (the JGSS-2005) to test the relationship between giving and volunteering. What factors affect people's decisions to give and/or to volunteer? Is a giver also a volunteer and vice visa? Research on philanthropic behavior to provide answers to these questions has been overlooked because volunteering is regarded as working for nothing and giving is regarded as a money transfer from one to the other. In short, they do not fit traditional principles of economics. However, philanthropic behavior now receives considerable attention in the literature because several surveys have revealed that the number of people who give time and money is not negligible. While this paper also searches for factors affecting people's decisions to give and to volunteer, this paper mainly focuses on the direct effect of giving on volunteering and vice visa. The results from our estimation reveal that a volunteer is also a giver, while a giver is not necessarily a volunteer.
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The current review aims to unify existing views of altruism through an examination of the biological bases of a fundamental form of giving: altruistic responding. Altruistic responding is most salient during heroic acts of helping but is also observed any time one perceives another's distress or need, which in turn motivates one to help at a current cost to the self. Such aid is simple, observable across species, and rooted in the instincts and circuits that evolved to maximize inclusive fitness through the care of helpless offspring. By design, the system already biases aid to both kin and nonkin under conditions that are largely adaptive. These inherent benefits are also buttressed in primates and humans by known, later-arriving benefits to helping in group-living animals. Evidence for the proposed homology between altruistic responding and offspring retrieval is presented through 10 key shared factors. Conceptually, both require (a) participation by nonmothers, (b) motor competence and expertise, (c) an adaptive opponency between avoidance and approach, and a facilitating role of (d) neonatal vulnerability, (e) salient distress, and (f) rewarding close contact. Physiologically, they also share neurohormonal support from (g) oxytocin, (h) the domain-general mesolimbocortical system, (i) the cingulate cortex, and (j) the orbitofrontal cortex. The framework intermixes ultimate and proximate levels of analysis and unifies existing views by assuming that even complex human behaviors reflect ancient mammalian neural systems that evolved to solve key problems in adaptive ways, with far-reaching consequences for even our most venerated human traits. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
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This research provides the first support for a possible psychological universal: Human beings around the world derive emotional benefits from using their financial resources to help others (prosocial spending). In Study 1, survey data from 136 countries were examined and showed that prosocial spending is associated with greater happiness around the world, in poor and rich countries alike. To test for causality, in Studies 2a and 2b, we used experimental methodology, demonstrating that recalling a past instance of prosocial spending has a causal impact on happiness across countries that differ greatly in terms of wealth (Canada, Uganda, and India). Finally, in Study 3, participants in Canada and South Africa randomly assigned to buy items for charity reported higher levels of positive affect than participants assigned to buy the same items for themselves, even when this prosocial spending did not provide an opportunity to build or strengthen social ties. Our findings suggest that the reward experienced from helping others may be deeply ingrained in human nature, emerging in diverse cultural and economic contexts. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
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While numerous studies have documented the modest (though reliable) link between household income and well-being, we examined the accuracy of laypeople's intuitions about this relationship by asking people from across the income spectrum to report their own happiness and to predict the happiness of others (Study 1) and themselves (Study 2) at different income levels. Data from two national surveys revealed that while laypeople's predictions were relatively accurate at higher levels of income, they greatly overestimated the impact of income on life satisfaction at lower income levels, expecting low household income to be coupled with very low life satisfaction. Thus, people may work hard to maintain or increase their income in part because they overestimate the hedonic costs of earning low levels of income.
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Reviews the literature on sex differences in empathy (defined as vicarious affective responding to the emotional state of another) and related capacities (affective role taking and decoding of nonverbal cues). The literature is discussed according to method used to assess empathy and affective role taking. Where appropriate, meta-analyses were also computed. In general, sex differences in empathy were found to be a function of the methods used to assess empathy. There was a large sex difference favoring women when the measure of empathy was self-report scales; moderate differences (favoring females) were found for reflexive crying and self-report measures in laboratory situations; and no sex differences were evident when the measure of empathy was either physiological or unobtrusive observations of nonverbal reactions to another's emotional state. Moreover, few sex differences were found for children's affective role taking and decoding abilities. (156 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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A model is presented to account for the natural selection of what is termed reciprocally altruistic behavior. The model shows how selection can operate against the cheater (non-reciprocator) in the system. Three instances of altruistic behavior are discussed, the evolution of which the model can explain: (1) behavior involved in cleaning symbioses; (2) warning cries in birds; and (3) human reciprocal altruism. Regarding human reciprocal altruism, it is shown that the details of the psychological system that regulates this altruism can be explained by the model. Specifically, friendship, dislike, moralistic aggression, gratitude, sympathy, trust, suspicion, trustworthiness, aspects of guilt, and some forms of dishonesty and hypocrisy can be explained as important adaptations to regulate the altruistic system. Each individual human is seen as possessing altruistic and cheating tendencies, the expression of which is sensitive to developmental variables that were selected to set the tendencies at a balance ap...
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What triggers giving? We explore this in a randomized natural field experiment during the Salvation Army's annual campaign. Solicitors were at one or both of two main entrances to a supermarket, making the solicitation either easy or difficult to avoid. Additionally, solicitors were either silent, or asked "please give" to passersby. We observed over 17,000 passings over four days, and found dramatic avoidance of the solicitors, but only during a direct ask. Furthermore, asking increased donations 75%. Across all conditions, seeking the solicitor was exceedingly rare. The results do not support static views of altruism, such as inequity aversion, and instead highlight the importance of social cues and psychological features of the giver-receiver interaction. We argue that avoidance could evidence a lack of altruism or self-control strategy to deal with empathic reflexes to give.Institutional subscribers to the NBER working paper series, and residents of developing countries may download this paper without additional charge at www.nber.org.
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The “Hedonistic Paradox” states that homo economicus, or someone who seeks happiness for him- or herself, will not find it, but the person who helps others will. This study examines two questions in connection with happiness and generosity. First, do more generous people, as identified in dictator experiments, report on average greater happiness, or subjective well-being (SWB), as measured by responses to various questionnaires? Second, if the answer is affirmative, what is the causal relationship between generosity and happiness? We find a favorable correlation between generosity and happiness (i.e., SWB is directly related to several measures of happiness and inversely related to unhappiness) and examine various possible explanations, including that material well-being causes both happiness and generosity. The evidence from this experiment, however, indicates that a tertiary personality variable, sometimes called psychological well-being, is the primary cause of both happiness and greater generosity. In contrast to field studies, the experimental method of this inquiry permits anonymity measures designed to minimize subject misrepresentation of intrinsic generosity (e.g., due to social approval motives) and of actual happiness (e.g., because of social desirability biases) and produces a rich data set with multiple measures of subjective, psychological and material well-being. The results of this and other studies raise the question of whether greater attention should be paid to the potential benefits (beyond solely the material ones) of policies that promote charitable donations, volunteerism, service education, and, more generally, community involvement, political action, and social institutions that foster psychological well-being.
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To facilitate a multidimensional approach to empathy the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI) includes 4 subscales: Perspective-Taking (PT) Fantasy (FS) Empathic Concern (EC) and Personal Distress (PD). The aim of the present study was to establish the convergent and discriminant validity of these 4 subscales. Hypothesized relationships among the IRI subscales between the subscales and measures of other psychological constructs (social functioning self-esteem emotionality and sensitivity to others) and between the subscales and extant empathy measures were examined. Study subjects included 677 male and 667 female students enrolled in undergraduate psychology classes at the University of Texas. The IRI scales not only exhibited the predicted relationships among themselves but also were related in the expected manner to other measures. Higher PT scores were consistently associated with better social functioning and higher self-esteem; in contrast Fantasy scores were unrelated to these 2 characteristics. High EC scores were positively associated with shyness and anxiety but negatively linked to egotism. The most substantial relationships in the study involved the PD scale. PD scores were strongly linked with low self-esteem and poor interpersonal functioning as well as a constellation of vulnerability uncertainty and fearfulness. These findings support a multidimensional approach to empathy by providing evidence that the 4 qualities tapped by the IRI are indeed separate constructs each related in specific ways to other psychological measures.
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This article distinguishes between hedonic and eudaimonic approaches to wellness, with the former focusing on the outcome of happiness or pleasure and the latter focusing not so much on outcomes as on the process of living well. We present a model of eudaimonia that is based in self-determination theory, arguing that eudaimonic living can be characterized in terms of four motivational concepts: (1) pursuing intrinsic goals and values for their own sake, including personal growth, relationships, community, and health, rather than extrinsic goals and values, such as wealth, fame, image, and power; (2) behaving in autonomous, volitional, or consensual ways, rather than heteronomous or controlled ways; (3) being mindful and acting with a sense of awareness; and (4) behaving in ways that satisfy basic psychological needs for competence, relatedness, and autonomy. In fact, we theorize that the first three of these aspects of eudaimonic living have their positive effects of psychological and physical wellness because they facilitate satisfaction of these basic, universal psychological needs. Studies indicate that people high in eudaimonic living tend to behave in more prosocial ways, thus benefiting the collective as well as themselves, and that conditions both within the family and in society more generally contribute toward strengthening versus diminishing the degree to which people live eudaimonic lives.
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There are two main routes to happiness, one linked with modernization and another with traditional belief systems. In so far as modernization brings greater income, and political and personal freedom, it is conducive to rising subjective well-being - and in recent decades, it has actually made people happier. Economic development helps but its impact follows a curve of diminishing returns and rising social tolerance and political freedom played even more important roles in the global rise of subjective well-being that occurred from 1981 to 2007. Belief systems also shape subjective well-being, and religion has traditionally helped offset the effect of poverty. Thus, within most countries religious people are happier than non-religious people, although they tend to have lower incomes. And cross-nationally, the people of strongly religious low-income countries are substantially happier than the people of less religious low-income countries. Ideologies also help shape subjective well-being. Today, the publics of most ex-communist countries show weak or negative correlations between religion and subjective well-being. This seems to reflect a recent influx of unhappy people, who have turned to religion following the collapse of faith in communist ideology, which once provided a sense of meaning and certainty for many people.
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Corporate volunteering programs are important channels for expressing care and compassion, but little research has examined when and why employees sustain involvement. Integrating work design and volunteering theories. I introduce a model that explains how depleted task, social, and knowledge characteristics of jobs trigger compensatory motives during initial volunteering episodes. When these motives are fulfilled by volunteering projects, employees repeat participation, internalizing volunteer identities-contingent on pressure. matching incentives, recognition, managerial support, and targeted causes.
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Despite the fact that over half of the people in the US volunteer each year, there is little theoretical or empirical understanding of volunteer performance. In response, this study examined executive-level volunteers’ multiple contributions of personal resources to a national health care advocacy organization. We expected higher contributions when demands from volunteer roles do not exceed desired levels of contribution, interaction with other volunteers is higher, role investments are higher, and motives to join are consistent with organization’s mission. Regression analyses supported the relation of contributions to social interaction, role investments, and volunteer motives. Suggestions for enhancing the level of volunteer contributions to the organization are made.
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This paper reports the findings of a study that examines the relationship between family life course status (based on marital status, parenthood, and age of youngest child) and volunteer behavior. Also, the impact of being a single parent on volunteering is examined. Married parents are more likely to volunteer generally and, specifically, in certain youth-oriented activities. However, the status of married-with-children is negatively associated with the aggregate number of hours volunteered, while there is a positive association between single parents with school-age children and hours devoted to certain activities. Single parents with pre-school children have neither the social supports of married parents to share roles, nor the relative freedom enjoyed by single persons with no children or with school-age children, and are less likely to volunteer or devote time to organized volunteer activities.
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While identity formation is evolving during adolescence, migration poses additional demands and challenges as well as new choices. Apart from the coping and social support, there is growing interest in the effect of social competence factors on the mental health of migrants. The current study aims to examine mental health and the relevant correlates among local and migrant adolescents in China. It is hypothesized that empathy would have incremental influence on the local and migrant students’ mental health on top of the commonly known coping and social support variables. Two hundred and eighty six junior secondary school students were recruited from a public school in Beijing. Hierarchical regression was conducted to observe the influences of these variables on their mental health. The coping variables were entered as the first block and the perceived social support variables were entered as the second. Empathy (including perspective taking and empathetic concern) variables were entered as the third block to determine their unique contribution to understanding the mental health value. Empathy explained additional variances of mental health on top of coping and perceived social support factors for both local and migrant students. Results are discussed in the context of enhancing perspective taking to help with migrants’ adjustment.
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Why do significant numbers of people engage in the unpaid helping activities known as volunteerism? Drawing on functional theorizing about the reasons, purposes, and motivations underlying human behavior, we have identified six personal and social functions potentially served by volunteering. In addition to developing an inventory to assess these motivational functions, our program of research has explored the role of motivation in the processes of volunteerism, especially decisions about becoming a volunteer in the first place and decisions about continuing to volunteer.
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Two meta-analyses find that Americans have shifted toward substantially higher levels of anxiety and neuroticism during recent decades. Both college student (adult) and child samples increased almost a full standard deviation in anxiety between 1952 and 1993 (explaining about 20% of the variance in the trait). The average American child in the 1980s reported more anxiety than child psychiatric patients in the 1950s. Correlations with social indices (e.g., divorce rates, crime rates) suggest that decreases in social connectedness and increases in environmental dangers may be responsible for the rise in anxiety. Economic factors, however, seem to play little role. Birth cohort, as a proxy for broad social trends, may be an important influence on personality development, especially during childhood.
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Despite the fact that over half of the people in the US volunteer each year, there is little theoretical or empirical understanding of volunteer performance. In response, this study examined executive-level volunteers’ multiple contributions of personal resources to a national health care advocacy organization. We expected higher contributions when demands from volunteer roles do not exceed desired levels of contribution, interaction with other volunteers is higher, role investments are higher, and motives to join are consistent with organization’s mission. Regression analyses supported the relation of contributions to social interaction, role investments, and volunteer motives. Suggestions for enhancing the level of volunteer contributions to the organization are made.
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The connection between church membership, church activism, and volunteering is explored using a three-wave panel study of young adults. Volunteering to help others solve community problems is more likely among members of churches that emphasize this-worldly social concerns, especially among those socially involved in these churches. Among Catholics, the connection between church involvement and volunteering is formed early and remains strong. Among liberal Protestants, the connection is made only in middle age. Among moderate and conservative Protestants there is little connection at all. Conservative Protestants who attend church regularly are less likely to be involved in secular volunteering and more likely to be involved in volunteering for church-related work. The results suggest caution in generalizing about the connection between religious preference or involvement, and volunteering because this connection depends on the theological interpretation of volunteering and the significance attached to frequent church attendance.
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We construct an integrated theory of formal and informal volunteer work based on the premises that volunteer work is (1) productive work that requires human capital, (2) collective behavior that requires social capital, and (3) ethically guided work that requires cultural capital. Using education, income, and functional health to measure human capital, number of children in the household and informal social interaction to measure social capital, and religiosity to measure cultural capital, we estimate a model in which formal volunteering and informal helping are reciprocally related but connected in different ways to different forms of capital. Using two-wave data from the Americans' Changing Lives panel study, we find that formal volunteering is positively related to human capital, number of children in the household, informal social interaction, and religiosity. Informal helping, such as helping a neighbor, is primarily determined by gender, age, and health. Estimation of reciprocal effects reveals that formal volunteering has a positive effect on helping, but helping does not affect formal volunteering.
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Combining a life course perspective with recent theorizing on motivationally related agendas for social behavior, this study investigated the purposes, expectations, and outcomes of adult hospice volunteers of varying ages. Specifically, support was found for the hypothesis that younger volunteers tend to be motivated by and to achieve outcomes related to interpersonal relationships, whereas older volunteers tend to be motivated to a greater extent by service or community obligation concerns. Furthermore, in hierarchical regression analyses predicting overall satisfaction, benefits relative to costs, commitment, and changes in self-esteem over 6 months of volunteer service, relationship-related variables demonstrated greater and significant predictive power for younger relative to older volunteers. Service-oriented variables, hypothesized to be more influential in predicting the outcomes of older volunteers, tended to be inconsistently related to these same outcomes. Discussion focuses on the theoretical significance of the findings for contemporary approaches to motivation and research on volunteerism and aging, as well as the practical implications of the results for volunteer recruitment, satisfaction, and retention.
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This study examined the effects of participation in a school-based helper program on adolescents' self-image, attitudes, and behaviors. Seventh-grade students at the junior high where the program was implemented were divided into 2 functional groups, one of which was required to engage in volunteer helping activities for the remainder of the school year, whereas the other group engaged in no such service. It was hypothesized that Helper Program participants (n = 85) relative to nonparticipants (n = 86), and especially boys, would show improvement in 4 domains: self-image, commitment to school and community, problem behavior, and commitment to altruism. The results were gender specific: Participating boys showed positive changes in self-esteem, depressive affect, involvement, and problem behavior relative to other groups. The findings indicate that, with program modifications to augment potential benefits to girls, helper programs might become an important mechanism in producing positive life changes for adolescents.
Article
Two studies provide evidence that dispositional sympathy and perceived control interact to predict choices for and against situations likely to elicit sympathy. Sympathetic persons choosing among previewed experiments on the basis of the emotion elicited by each were particularly likely to choose a sympathy induction, and appeared to interpret that prospect in positive terms, but only when they expected substantial control over the procedure. In a second study, sympathizers were the most likely to volunteer for studies of people in distress, so long as the sympathizers expected a means of helping the distressed persons. In contrast, assurances of situational control did not encourage less sympathetic subjects to participate in either context Results provide for the expansion of models relating affect to prosaically behavior to include preferences for contact with distressed persons and for an interpretation of trait sympathy as less of a personal liability than prevalent views suggest.
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The present study examined the role of compassion for others and social support in physiological stress reactivity. In this experiment, participants who had previously completed an online assessment of compassion experienced a social stress task in front of either two supportive or neutral evaluators, while their blood pressure, cortisol, high frequency heart rate variability (HF-HRV), and liking for the evaluators were monitored. Participants’ compassion for others interacted with social support condition to buffer their physiological reactivity to stress. When provided with social support during the task, higher trait compassion was associated with lower blood pressure reactivity, lower cortisol reactivity, and higher HF-HRV reactivity. Higher compassion was also associated with greater liking for the supportive evaluators. These relationships were not observed for participants in the neutral condition, regardless of their trait compassion. Compassion for others may increase our ability to receive social support, which may lead to more adaptive profiles of stress reactivity.
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Decades of research have demonstrated strong links between social ties and health. Although considerable evidence has shown that social support can attenuate downstream physiological stress responses that are relevant to health, the neurocognitive mechanisms that translate perceptions of social ties into altered physiological responses are still not fully understood. This review integrates research from social and affective neuroscience to illuminate some of the neural mechanisms involved in social support processes, which may further our understanding of the ways in which social support influences health. Two types of social support that have been shown to relate to health are receiving and giving social support. As the neural basis of giving support, neural regions involved in maternal caregiving behavior may be critical for the health benefits of support giving through the inhibition of threat-related neural and physiological responding. This article will then review neuroimaging studies in which participants were primed with or received support during a negative experience as well as studies in which self-reports of perceived support were correlated with neural responses to a negative experience. As the neural basis of receiving support, this article reviews the hypothesis that receiving support may benefit health through the activation of neural regions that respond to safety and inhibit threat-related neural and physiological responding. Neuroimaging studies in which participants provided support to others or engaged in other related forms of prosocial behavior will then be reviewed. Implications of these findings for furthering our understanding of the relationships between social support and health are discussed.
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Recent studies based on attachment theory demonstrate that dispositional and experimentally manipulated attachment security facilitate cognitive openness and empathy, strengthen self-transcendent values, and foster tolerance of out-group members, suggesting an effect of one behavioral system, attachment, on another, caregiving. Here we report 2 studies conducted in 3 different countries (Israel, the Netherlands, and the United States) to determine whether the 2 dimensions of attachment insecurity—anxiety and avoidance—are related to real-world altruistic volunteering. In both studies and across the 3 locations, avoidant attachment was related to volunteering less and having less altruistic and exploration-oriented motives for volunteering. Anxious attachment was related to self-enhancing motives for volunteering. Additional results suggested that volunteering ameliorates the interpersonal problems of individuals high in anxiety and that volunteering has more beneficial effects if it is done for altruistic reasons. Future directions for experimental research on this topic are outlined.
Article
Americans vary widely in their ideas about causes of and solutions to poverty, and differ as well in what compassion to the poor should look like. Few researchers have examined the complex issue of compassion. Most who have suggest that conservative Protestantism has lagged behind Catholicism and more liberal Protestantism in "generosity" or "commitment" to the poor. This article examines the giving habits of Americans to organizations which help the poor and needy, using religious and political measures to test the conventional view that devout Catholics and liberal Protestants are the "friends of the poor," and that politically conservative Christians are indifferent or hostile toward them. The results suggest that religion and religiosity do increase giving to the poor, but that there is no support for the conventional wisdom about conservative Protestants. Indeed, the evidence suggests theological and political conservatives are currently more generous in this particular form of charitable giving.
Article
This panel study examines whether educational, work, and family roles promote volunteerism during late adolescence and early adulthood, as they do later in adulthood. The findings reveal substantial continuity in volunteerism from adolescence through the transition to adulthood and highlight the importance of values expressed in adolescence for volunteerism in the years following. Controlling these processes, attending school during this life stage promotes volunteerism. In contrast, full-time work investments in the early life course are found to hinder volunteer participation, as does the presence of young children in the family, especially at earlier parental ages. The results support a life course perspective for understanding civic participation.
Article
Objectives: We sought to test the hypothesis that providing help to others predicts a reduced association between stress and mortality. Methods: We examined data from participants (n = 846) in a study in the Detroit, Michigan, area. Participants completed baseline interviews that assessed past-year stressful events and whether the participant had provided tangible assistance to friends or family members. Participant mortality and time to death was monitored for 5 years by way of newspaper obituaries and monthly state death-record tapes. Results: When we adjusted for age, baseline health and functioning, and key psychosocial variables, Cox proportional hazard models for mortality revealed a significant interaction between helping behavior and stressful events (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.58; P < .05; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.35, 0.98). Specifically, stress did not predict mortality risk among individuals who provided help to others in the past year (HR = 0.96; 95% CI = 0.79, 1.18), but stress did predict mortality among those who did not provide help to others (HR = 1.30; P < .05; 95% CI = 1.05, 1.62). Conclusions: Helping others predicted reduced mortality specifically by buffering the association between stress and mortality.
Article
This study explored changes in burnout scores following volunteer international non-disaster medical mission service. Maslach, Jackson, and Leiter (199613. Maslach , C , Jackson , S and Leiter , M . 1996 . Maslach Burnout Inventory manual, , 3rd , Palo Alto, CA : Consulting Psychologists Press . View all references) conceptualised burnout as involving emotional exhaustion, a sense of depersonalisation, and a lack of personal accomplishments in the workplace. Thirty-six short-term mission workers (mostly physicians and nurses) provided medical care in South America on one of four service brigades. The group scored in the moderate range on all three scales of burnout prior to embarking on the mission trips. Stressful aspects of medical practice (such as lack of control over personal time and pressure to see more patients in less time) were rated and correlated with the burnout scales. The burnout scores improved following short-term mission service and continued to improve at a six-month follow-up. Perhaps a reduction in burnout is one of the benefits of short-term mission work, and further study of this benefit is recommended.
Article
The current study examines the effects of helping behavior and physical activity on mood states and depressive symptoms of older adults. Participants (n = 102) reported their chronic conditions, volunteering, supporting behavior, and physical activity. Helping behavior, as well as physical activity, was practiced by more than half of the participants. Physical activity was positively associated with cheerfulness and vigor and explained 4% of the variance in both moods. No links were detected between the level of physical activity and depressive symptoms. Helping behavior was positively correlated with cheerfulness and vigor and explained 6% and 22% of these moods, respectively. It was negatively correlated with depressive symptoms and explained 6% of the variance in their occurrence. The positive link between helping behavior and physical exercise can be explained by adaptation theories of aging which regard the psychological benefits of multiple forms of activity in late life.
Article
Investigated the relationship between affect and altruism in 7- and 8-yr-old middle-class white children (N = 48 males and 24 females). Ss were asked to think of things that made them happy or sad, or they were assigned to control conditions. Ss were then given an opportunity to donate money to other children in the E's absence. In accord with predictions, Ss who experienced positive affect gave more than controls, while Ss who experienced negative affect gave less than controls. Females gave more than males overall. The relationship between self-reward and reward of others is discussed. (19 ref.) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
IN AN INVESTIGATION OF FACTORS AFFECTING A PERSON'S WILLINGNESS TO HELP OTHER PEOPLE, 108 MALE COLLEGE STUDENTS SERVED IN THE 9 CONDITIONS OF A 3 * 3 FACTORIAL DESIGN IN WHICH THEY (1) HAD EITHER A SUCCESS, FAILURE, OR NO EXPERIENCE ON A PRELIMINARY, IRRELEVANT TASK, AND THEN (2) WERE REQUIRED TO WORK FOR A PEER WHOSE CHANCE OF GAINING A PRIZE WAS EITHER 20%, 50%, OR 80% DEPENDENT UPON THEIR PRODUCTIVITY. SS WHO HAD EXPERIENCED A FRUSTRATION TENDED TO EXPRESS STRONGER DISLIKE FOR THE EXPERIMENT AND FOR THEIR PEER THE GREATER THEIR PEER'S DEPENDENCY UPON THEM. THE FELT OBLIGATION ARISING FROM THE HIGH PERCEIVED DEPENDENCY WAS APPARENTLY AN UNWELCOME PRESSURE FOR THESE SS. BY CONTRAST, THE SUCCESSFUL SS HAD A GREATER INCREASE IN WORK IN BEHALF OF THEIR DEPENDENT PEER THAN DID THE CONTROL SS. CONSIDERING THE HELP GIVEN THE DEPENDENT PERSON AS A SPECIAL CASE OF CONFORMITY TO A SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY NORM, PRESCRIBING THAT PEOPLE SHOULD HELP THOSE WHO NEED THEIR ASSISTANCE, THE FINDINGS SUPPORT THE THESIS THAT PRIOR FRUSTRATIONS LESSEN WILLINGNESS TO CONFORM TO SUCH MORAL NORMS, WHILE PREVIOUS SUCCESS EXPERIENCES MAY INCREASE MOTIVATION TO ADHERE TO THESE STANDARDS OF CONDUCT. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Positive mood at work (as an affective state) was hypothesized to be significantly and positively associated with the performance of both extrarole and role-prescribed prosocial organizational behaviors. Moreover, positive mood was hypothesized to have effects on prosocial behavior above and beyond the effects of fairness cognitions. Conversely, positive mood as a trait (i.e., positive affectivity) was expected to be unrelated to either form of prosocial behavior. Finally, the form of role-prescribed prosocial behavior investigated, customer-service behavior or helpful behavior directed at customers, was hypothesized to be positively associated with sales performance. These hypotheses were tested with a sample of 221 salespeople. All of the hypotheses were supported. Implications of these results and directions for future research are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Investigated the effects of success and failure and their impact on valuation of resources in 3 experiments. In Exp. I, 36 male and 39 female 4th graders who participated in a bowling game and received predetermined scores indicating success or failure, were given the opportunity to contribute to a toy fund for needy children and then asked to estimate the value of 4 toys. Results show that success led to increased generosity. In Exp. II, with 30 male and 30 female 3rd graders, success and failure scores were emphasized. Results show that, where the opportunity for image reparation exists, children who fail are more charitable than control Ss. Exp. III studied the effects of failure only, with 30 male and 30 female 4th graders, indicating that only if a charity is presented as related to an E who knows about S's failure will increased generosity result. Results are discussed in terms of the "warm glow of success" effect and an image repair hypothesis. (15 ref.) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
3 experiments with adult Ss investigated the effects of the experience of success or failure on subsequent generosity, helpfulness, and attention to the social environment. On the basis of an intuitive formulation, designated the "warm glow of success" hypothesis, it was expected that Ss who had succeeded on a task would subsequently behave more generously and more helpfully toward a stranger than would Ss who had not succeeded. It was predicted that Ss who had failed would be less attentive to the social environment than those who had succeeded. In the success and failure groups, Ss performed a series of tasks and were then informed that they had scored either well above the norm or well below it. Control Ss in 1 study were exposed to these tasks for about the same period of time, but had no opportunity to actually work on them, and thus received no feedback. In all conditions, after the independent variable manipulation was completed, the E left the room, and a confederate, who did not know the experimental condition of the S, entered. In Study I, the dependent measure was amount of money contributed to a charity collection can which the confederate placed on the table. In both Studies II and III, the dependent variables were helpfulness and attentiveness to the confederate. Results support the predictions. Internal analysis in Study III indicates that the findings regarding helping and those regarding attention were independent of each other. Several possible interpretations of the results are offered. The role of the S's feelings of competence and his expectancy for future incoming resources is suggested as a mediator 178 192 192 192 192 208 286 328 (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Although accumulated research findings point to both short- and long-term salutary effects of time volunteering on older adults' physical and mental health, little research has been done on the effect of older adults' making charitable donations on their wellbeing. Guided by activity theory and the theory of volunteering and using data from the first and second waves of Midlife Development in the United States (MIDUS, 1995–1996 and MIDUS II, 2004–2006), this study examined the question of whether time volunteering and charitable donations nine years earlier had a positive direct effect on psychological wellbeing among individuals age 55 and above. Controlling for time 1 (T1) psychological wellbeing and T1 human, cultural, and social capital resources, a moderate amount (up to ten hours monthly) of T1 time volunteering and any amount of T1 charitable donations had a direct positive effect on time 2 (T2; nine years later) psychological wellbeing. The findings also show a greater effect on psychological wellbeing of any amount of charitable donations than of any amount of time volunteering, although the extent of the effect of both time volunteering and charitable donations was small. With regard to human, cultural, and social capital resources, T1 self-rated health and generative quality were significant predictors of T2 psychological wellbeing, but T1 social capital had no significant effect on T2 psychological wellbeing.
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The major purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of three verbally-mediated variables on financial contributions in a door-todoor charity campaign. The relationship of race to contributions was also observed by using both black and white subjects. One hundred and twenty black and 120 white subjects were randomly assigned to one of 8 verbal appeals in a 2 (High vs. Low Dependency) × 2 (Internal vs. External Causal Locus of Need) × 2 (“it is your social responsibility” vs. “it will make you feel good” Expressed Reason for Giving) factorial design. The solicitor controlled for order effects by varying the sequence of these three variables within each experimental group. Main effects were found for Rae, Causal Locus of Need, and Expressed Reason for Giving: Whites contributed more than blacks, the external locus of need condition produced more giving than the internal condition, and persons who heard the “feel good” reason donated more than those in the “social responsibility” condition. Additionally, a significant Causal Locus of Need × Expressed Reason for Giving interaction was found. The combination of external locus of need and “feel good” was considerably more productive of contributions than the other three combinations. Implications of these results for the helping behavior literature are discussed.
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Three principal modes of civic involvement are volunteering, giving to charities, and participating in civic associations. The authors investigate how total effort is distributed in the Canadian population among these three behaviors. Their results show that in each area, there is a small group of individuals who is responsible for the majority of contributory effort. When activity in the three areas is considered all together, the authors find a remarkably high degree of concentration. Six percent of Canadian adults account for 35% to 42% of all civic involvement. This group of individuals represents the "civic core" in Canada. The implications of the existence of a small but dedicated civic core for the voluntary domain and for patterns of citizen engagement are discussed.
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In this article we present an evolutionary theory of altruism-Selective Investment Theory (SIT). The essence of SIT is that human social bonds evolved as overarching, emotion regulating mechanisms designed to promote reliable, high-cost altruism among individuals who depend on one another for survival and reproduction (e.g., offspring, mates, coalition members). We view the social bond as a dynamic memory complex, with cognitive, affective, and neurohormonal features. When activated, this complex works to minimize self versus other motivational conflicts associated with altruistic decision making. Our proposal that social bonds evolved because they promoted giving away (as opposed to getting) valuable resources represents a departure from traditional wisdom, and has important implications for interpreting and investigating close relationship phenomena.
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Based on recent theories of affect and cognition, this unobtrusive field experiment predicted and found that induced positive mood improved real-life customer service behaviors by less experienced sales staff, but had no effect on the behaviors of experienced long-term staff in several department stores. Positive or negative mood was unobtrusively induced in sales staff in major department stores by a confederate. A second confederate, blind to the mood induction, then asked employees for help to locate a non-existent item. The frequency and duration of helpful behaviors in response to the request was recorded. Consistent with Forgas' Affect Infusion Model (AIM), less experienced employees showed a significant mood-congruent pattern in their responses helping more in a positive than in a negative mood. Long-term employees who could rely on routine, direct access processing were not influenced by the mood induction. The implications of these findings for contemporary affect-cognition theorizing and for everyday affective influences on interpersonal behaviors and customer service delivery are considered. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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A meta–analysis was performed in an attempt to clarify the proposed relationship between religiosity and psychological adjustment. Specific focus was given to the issue of definition, namely, whether differences in researchers’ conceptualizations of religiosity and mental health could account for the various contradictory findings by psychologists of religion. Analysis of 34 studies conducted during the past 12 years revealed that the definitions of religiosity and mental health utilized by psychologists in this field were indeed associated with different types and strengths of the correlations between religiosity and mental health. Discussion of results assesses the fit between relevant theory and the pattern of change in effect size across categories of religion and adjustment, and concludes with implications for therapeutic uses of religious involvement.