Motive, role identity, and prosocial personality as predictors of volunteer activity

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Marcia A. Finkelstein
Louis A. Penner
Michael T. Brannick
Cite this article:  Finkelstein, M., Penner, L., & Brannick, M. (2005). Motive, role identity, and prosocial personality as predictors of volunteer activity. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 33(4), 403-418.


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Constructs from the functional analysis and role identity models of volunteerism were combined in a study of activity and tenure among hospice volunteers. The influence of prosocial personality tendencies on sustained volunteer activity was also examined. The findings were most supportive of a role identity model of sustained volunteerism. Identity and perceived expectations emerged as the strongest predictors of both time spent volunteering and length of service. Initial motives for volunteering showed a weaker than expected relationship with volunteerism. Motives were, however, correlated with role identity and perceived expectations in an interpretable and theoretically coherent manner. The results provided preliminary support for a conceptual framework that integrates the functional and identity approaches to understanding long-term volunteers.

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