Submission note: A thesis submitted in total fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy [to the] School of Psychology and Public Health, College of Science, Health and Engineering, La Trobe University, Victoria, Australia.
Although a consistent finding across research studies is that being religious makes an individual more likely to volunteer, there has been scant investigation of different facets of religiosity and their relationship to well-known motivations for volunteering. The present research examined religious “believing” (i.e., in religious doctrines) and “belonging” (i.e., service attendance) and their relationships to volunteering motivations and behaviour. These relationships were explored in Study 1, in which results revealed that the Values motive mediated the relationship between religious belief and intention to volunteer, however the Social motive did not mediate the relationship between religious service attendance and volunteering intentions. Study 2 expanded upon this finding by investigating the relationship of various facets of religiosity, as well as spirituality, with volunteering motivations and behaviour in a large Australian community sample. Results replicated those of Study 1, and also showed that the relationship between religiosity and volunteering was driven by the devoutly religious (who volunteered much more than others); the Community Concern motive mediated this relationship. Study 3 utilised a longitudinal, nationally representative data set to examine the relationship of religiosity to volunteering behaviour, finding that whereas religious service attendance predicted greater likelihood of being a volunteer, religious importance predicted increased time spent volunteering among volunteers. The final three studies adopted an experimental paradigm. Study 4 attempted to influence willingness to volunteer by experimentally manipulating Community Concern as a motivation, compared to manipulating another motive (Protective) or a control group. Finally, two priming studies aimed to establish causality between religiosity and willingness to volunteer. In Study 5, individuals primed with religious concepts were less likely to agree to participate in an online volunteering task than the control group, whereas Study 6 RELIGIOSITY AND VOLUNTEERING xix found no effect of religious priming. This thesis elucidates the intricate relationship between religiosity and volunteering, and suggests future directions for researchers studying the varied ways in which religiosity may encourage volunteerism.
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