chapter  15
18 Pages

Basic Research and Practical Problems: Volunteerism and the Psychology of Individual and Collective Action

We have developed a conceptual model of what we refer to as the volunteer process-a conceptual model that considers multiple levels of analysis and different stages in the life course of volunteers. Our model is informed by a functional approach to personality, motivation, and social behavior, which emphasizes the purposive and agentic nature of human action (e.g., Snyder & Cantor, 1998). This model has guided our empirical research on the personal and social motivations that dispose people to volunteer and that sustain them in their involvement in these ongoing helping relationships. We have collected data from actual volunteers and from nonvolunteers in both field and laboratory settings in a coordinated program of basic and applied investigations of the volunteer process.