Date of Award

2003

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Leadership PhD

First Advisor

Elsie P. Jackson

Second Advisor

Loretta B. Johns

Third Advisor

Bruce C. Moyer

Abstract

Problem. In an environment that challenges the non-profit sector, including church-based organizations, to do more with less, it is important to understand the mechanisms that build and sustain two key resources-individual giving and volunteering. Research indicates that there is a great deal of variation in the extent to which individuals provide help. An integrative theoretical model is utilized to examine and compare the giving and volunteering behaviors, socialization, attitudes, reasons, and motivations of adults with Seventh-day Adventist and other Christian religious identities, with secondary consideration given to the effect of potential ethnic variations.

Method. The sample (N = 1359) for this study was selected for the purpose of comparing Seventh-day Adventist adults with those of other Christian religious identities (controlled for church membership and attendance). The survey instrument utilized was the Study of Giving and Volunteering obtained from the Independent Sector. Chi-square, t tests, and analysis of variance were performed to investigate the relationships between a wide range of attitudinal, motivational, behavioral, and diversity variables and giving and volunteering behaviors.

Results. Seventh-day Adventist adults (SDA) were found to be more likely to give and volunteer, and to give more extensively than those of other Christian religious identities (CRI). SDA giving rates were less labile in response to most variables than the CRI rates. While there were many small, significant differences between the SDA and CRI groups, most were small enough to be relatively unimportant. There is a strong relationship between asking people to help and their helping across all groups. The SDA group appeared to be exposed slightly more to various socialization experiences. Findings for this study, consistent with those from other studies, indicate that the most important differences between racial and ethnic identity and giving and volunteering are related to education and income.

Conclusions. Findings from this explorative and comparative study support the theoretical assertions of selected portions of the integrative model of helping utilized (kinship, socialization, and cultural ethnic factors). Based on the support of the theory, best practices are suggested related to bonding, empathizing, value development and transmission, practice of caring and personal responsibility, diversifying, conflict resolution, networking, and globalization.

Subject Area

Christian giving, Voluntarism--Religious aspects--Seventh-day Adventists, Volunteers.

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