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The Contribution of Religion to Volunteer Work

Author(s): John Wilson and Thomas Janoski


Source: Sociology of Religion, Vol. 56, No. 2 (Summer, 1995), pp. 137-152
Published by: Oxford University Press
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1995,56:2 137-152
ofReligion
Sociology

of Religion
The Contribution
to VolunteerWork

JohnWilsont
ThomasJanoski
Universiry
Dxke

Theconnection betweenchurchmembership, church isexplored


andvolunteering
activism, us-
inga three-wavepanelstudyofyoung adults.Volunteering solvecommunity
tohelpothers problerns
ismorelikely among members ofchurches thatemphasize socialconcerns,
this-worldly especially
among thosesocially inthese
irlvolved churches.Among theconnection
Catholics, betweenchurch inS
volvement isfonned
andvolunteering earlyandremains strong.Among liberal thecon-
Protestants,
nectionisrnMe onlyinmiddle age.Among moderate there
Protestants
andconservative con-
islittle
nectionatall.ConservativeProtestantswhoattend church tobeinvolved
arelesslikely
regularly in
secular and
volunteering more to
likely beinvol1vedin for
volunteering work.
church-related There-
sultssuggestcautioningenerahtingaboutthecorlnection betweenreligious orinvolve-
preference
ment, andvolunteering because thisconnectiondepends on thetheological ofvol-
interpretation
unteeringanxlthesipficanceattxhed tofrequentchurch attenAnce.

contribution
Theissueofreligion's tovolunteerism received
haslately a lot
Volunteerism
ofscrutiny. isthename given to thatset ofactivitiesinwhich
peopleengage, without
usually pay,onbehalf ofothersinneed,suchasassisting
providing
theelderly, assistance
staff forneighborhoodgroups,orcoaching Little
League. with
Disillusionment biggovernment andcontinued ofthemar-
distrust
ketto meetsocialneedshasdrawn attentiontothecontributionthatmight be
madebyvoluntary labor.This,inturn,generatesscholarly in
interest the social
roots Whatinduces
ofvolunteerism. peopletogivetheir timetothose organiza-
tionsthatcanneitherimpelcommitment norbuyloyalty?
Thereisa lotofevidence tosuggestthatthosewhovolunteer tendtohave
more "human suchasincome,
capital" occupationalstanding,property, andedu-
cation(Hodgkinson andWeitzman 1992:59; Pearce1993:65).Human capital
notonlyincreasespeople's"stake"inthecommunity butalsoprovides there-
sources often
thatvolunteering demands. However, isbynomeans
self-interest
theonlyreason peoplevolunteer.Peoplegivebecausethey considerittheirduty
todoso.Volunteering "helps remain
individuals truetotheirconception ofself
andallowstheexpression ofdeeplyheldvalues. . . " (ClaryandSnyder
1991:125).Animportant source ofvaluesofbenevolence inWestern culturesis

toJohnWilson,Deparnnent
shouldbe addressed
t C0t7espondence Duke Universi",Durlum,NC
of Sociology,
27708.
137

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OFRELIGION
138 SOCIOLOGY

Mostreligions
religion: "encourage valuesandbehavior"
altruistic (Fischer and
Schaffer1993:60). Ittherefore comesas nosurprise that"[t]hroughout muchof
ourhistory, religion andgiving havebeencloselylinked. . ." (Wuthnow
1990:3).Hencethecurrent interest inthecontribution religion might bemak-
ingtocreating a "thousand points oflight."
Not all religious bodiesemphasize volunteering to the samedegree.
Wuthnow (1991:322)finds that"Bya margin of35 percent to 26 percent,
Protestantsweremorelikely thanCatholics tobecurrently involved incharita-
bleandother socialservice activities."Jews, especially thosebelonging tothe
moreliberal Reform denomination, havea strong tradition ofservice to the
community, whileethnic Jews "lacking denominational identification aremuch
lessactiveingeneral community voluntary associations" (Lazerwitz andHarrison
1979:662).
Considerable variation involunteering isalsofound within theProtestant
tradition.Liberal denominations (e.g.,UnitedChurch ofChrist, Unitarian,
Presbyterian,Episcopalian) areassociated with"social activism" while "thesocial
ofevangelicals
identity is. . . oriented towards. . . savingsouls" (Mock1992:21).
Liberalcongregations are at leasttwiceas likelyas veryconservative
congregations toparticipate inorsupport programs forbattered women, abused
children,pregnant teenagers, migrants or refugees, and foster care, with some-
whatsmaller differences forday-care programs for theelderly, tutoring, interna-
tionalpeaceandeconomic development, adulteducation, andhigher education
(Hodgkinson et al. 1988).Nearly two-thirds ofliberal congregations support
volunteer work intheareaof"community development" compared toone-third
oftheveryconservative congregations. At theindividual level,Hogeet al.
(1978:45)report "a significant andnegative relationship between beliefs in
scripturalauthority . . . andsocialaction": Moreconservative Protestants give
prioritytO evangelism. Galluppolldatarevealdenominational differences in
whatpeopledefineas the"toppriority forChristians." Only8 percent of
Southern Baptists givetoppriority to "Support causesto improve theentire
community," compared to 15 percent ofMethodists (GallupandCastelli
1987:22).Conservative Protestants aretaught tointerpret biblical teachings on
stewardship andcharity inhighly spiritualterms asassisting theindividual to
"getright withGod."GlockandStark( 1965:106) found that"Doinggoodfor
others"wasan"absolutely necessary" requirement forsalvation for58percent of
theCongregationalists interviewed butonly29percent oftheSouthern Baptists.
Thisdoesnotruleoutvolunteering formore conservative Protestants. Itsimply
suggeststhattheir volunteer work willbeconcerned more with themaintenance
oftheirchurch asa spiritual community, andwithoutreach tonon-believers in
evangelical work.
Denomination is nottheonlykindofreligious variation involunteering.
Religious congregations arenetworks ofsocialrelations. Involvement intheso-
ciallifeofa congregation increases thedegree ofintegration oftheindividual
intothereligious community. Itmultiplies opportunities tocomeintocontact
with others whoarealready engaged involunteer work. Peoplewhobelong toa
church butdonotattend regularly arealsolesslikely tointernalize thenorms of
thegroup (White1968:25). Theological doctrine hasa greater impact onpeople

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THE CONTRIBUTIONOF RELIGIONTO VOLUNTEERWORK 139

whoaremore involved inthesociallifeoftheircongregation.Volunteering thus


serveswhatpsychologists calla "socially-adjustive
function,"reflecting "the
normative influences offriends,family,andothersignificant associates who
themselves volunteer" (ClaryandSnyder 1991:125).Inshort, religious"prefer-
ence"isnotenough toenforce obligations:
"Thesingle bestpredictor ofindi-
vidualgiving is whether ornottheperson attendsweekly religiousservices"
(Watt1991:260).1
A number ofpredictions canthusbemadeabouttheinfluence ofreligion on
volunteering.
(i) Peopleraised byreligiousparentswillbemore likelytovolunteer than
peopleraisedbyparents whoarenotreligious.
(ii) Members ofdenominations thatemphasize this-worldlyconcerns will
be morelikely to volunteer thanmembers ofdenominations thatemphasize
"other-worldly"concerns.
(iii) Themore church members areactiveintheircongregations, themore
likely
arethey tovolunteer.
(iv) Activism in morethis-worldly denominations is morelikely to en-
couragevolunteering thanactivism inother-worldlydenominations.
Thefourth hypothesisisa corollaryofhypothesestwoandthree. Indeed, it
isopentoquestion whether activemembership inother-worldlydenominations
actuallyposesanobstacle tosecularforms ofvolunteering
because oftheamount
oftimeandenergy devoted tochurch maintenanceandevangelism (lannaccone
1994).Ifthisistrue, church activismmaynotsomuch aKecttheoverall levelof
volunteer work asthetype ofwork forwhich peoplevolunteer. Wewillexplore
thispossibility
inthispaper bylooking atdifferenttypesofvolunteer work and
askingifactivism inconservative Protestant
denominations ismore strongly re-
latedtoonetype thananother.
We testourhypotheses bytaking a sampleofpeoplewhohavereached
middle age,whenvolunteering peaks(Fischer andSchaffer 1993:17; Hayghe
1991:18). Wetrytoaccount forvariations
involunteering byreligiousback-
ground, earlysocializationintovolunteering, currentreligiousdenomination,
andreligiousparticipation,holding constanthuman capitalandlife-course fac-
torsthatalsoaffect volunteerism,suchaseducation, occupational prestige,and
parentalstatus(Clary andSnyder 1919:128).
METHODS
Ouranalytical
designassumesthatthere
aremultiple
"paths" from
religious
backgroundtovolunteeringinmiddleage.Parental
religiosity
mighthavean
immediateimpactonthelikelihoodofchildrenvolunteering,
inwhich caseit
willshowupsoon,inadolescence andearlyadulthood.
This,inturn,willin-
crease
thelikelihood
ofvolunteering
inmiddleage.Looking
backfrom thevan-
tagepointofmiddleage,current
volunteering
istheresult
ofearliervolunteer-
ing,whichistheresult
ofreligious
background.However,
there isa more
direct

1 Theavetage
hoursvolunteered
perweekrisesfrom
1.6forthosewhodo notattend
church
to3.4for
thosewhoattend
church
weekly(Hodgkinson
andWeitzman 1992:162).

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140 SOCIOLOGYOF RELIGION

pathfrom religious background to middle agevolunteering. Religious parents


tendtohavechildren whoaremore activeinthechurch. Thosereligious chil-
drenmight then,in middle age,be morelikely to volunteer, regardless of
whether ornotthey began volunteering early inlife.
Ourhypotheses predict thattheimpact ofchurch involvement willvary by
denomination. Wetherefore firstexamine differences involunteering across levS
elsofchurch attendance within four denominational categories,forpeoplein
theearly adultyears (age26) andforpeopleinmiddle age(age35).We then
constructcausalmodels toestimate volunteering inmiddle age.Welookfirst at
thepredictors ofearly adultvolunteering, using parental religiosity
anda proxy
measure ofadolescent volunteering. In thissamemodel, wealsotestforan
associationbetween volunteering andreligious participation inearlyadulthood.2
Wethenlookattheimpact ofmiddle agereligion onanychange intheamount
ofvolunteering between age26andage35.Inthissecond model, wecontrol for
volunteering inearly adulthood because volunteer work issomething ofa habit
(FischerandSchafer 1993:12). Wearetherefore estimating changes inthelevel
ofvolunteering brought aboutbymiddle agereligion. Finally,weenter educa-
tionalachievement andoccupational statusintothemodel, aswellasa measure
ofparental status.Because ourtheory assumes thattherelation between social
integration intothechurch andvolunteering differsbytheological doctrine, we
perform separate analyses fordifferentdenominational categories.
Sincetheanalytical design callsformeasures ofvolunteering atmorethan
onepointintimeandrequires a distinction tobemadebetween early andlate
religiousinfluences, paneldataarepreferable. Thisstudy usesthethree-wave
Youth-Parent Socialization PanelStudy, collected bytheSurvey Research Cen-
terattheUniversity ofMichigan (Jennings andNiemi1981).Thefirst waveof
interviews wasconducted in 1965,whentherespondents werehighschoolse-
niors;thesecond waveofinterviews occurred in 1973,whenmostrespondents
weretwenty-six yearsold,andthethird in 1982,whenmostrespondents were
thirtyofiveyears old.A randomly selected parent ofeachstudent wasalsointer-
viewed ineachwave.To circumvent attrition problems, wecreated a subsetof
thesedatacontaining onlystudents whowereinterviewed inallthree waves and
whohadatleastoneparent interviewed inbothofthefirst twowaves [n= 924].
TheYouth-Parent Socialization PanelStudy contains items questioning the
respondent's participation involunteer work in 1973andin 1982.Italsocon-
tainsquestions onreligious affiliation,church attendance, andparticipation in
church-related organizations inallthree waves. Identicalquestions areaskedof
theparent interviewed. Withthesedataitispossible toexamine theeffect of
parentalreligiosity ontherespondent's initiation intovolunteering, andtheef-
fectoftherespondents' ownreligious affiliation andchurch activism ontheir
responses tothevolunteer question in 1973;andit is possible tocarry through
theseanalyses into1982,whentherespondents havereached middle age.The

2 Herewebroaden thedefinition
ofchurchinvolvement
toembrace notonlychurch
attendance butalso
activeparticipation
inchurch-related
organizations,
following
theleadofHogeandYang(1994),whofound
thatinvolvement in churchrelatedorganizations
and involvementin othervoluntary
associations
in the
community tendtO gO together.
Weconstructa churchactivism
measurecombiningtherespondent's
scoreon
church attendance
andparticipation
inchurchrelated
organizations.

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THE CONTRIBUTIONOF RELIGIONTO VOLUNTEERWORK 141
dataonhuman
alsocontains
survey capital income,
suchaseducation,
variables
as
status,
andoccupational well
as on
informationmarital and
status of
number
children.
Variables

Parent's church attendance. In thefirst waveoftheYouth-Parent Sociali-


zationStudy bothparents wereinterviewed insomecases,themothers onlyin
somecases, andthefathers onlyinsomecases.Wetherefore constructed a single
"parent" variable, consisting ofthemother's report ofattendance whenshewas
interviewed, thefather's report ofattendance whenhe wasinterviewed. We
averaged scores whenbothwereinterviewed. Theparent's frequency ofchurch
attendance measure ranges from l = never to5 = weekly.
Student's highschoolsocialparticipation. Thismeasure wasderived from a
number ofquestions pUt tothehigh schoolseniors concerning theleveloftheir
participation, ifany,ina number ofhighschool extra-curricula These
activities.
included being a member ofa school athleticteam, school band, school debating
team, publication board, hobby club,schoolsubject club,occupation club,and
neighborhood club.Students werealsoaskedifthey hadeverrunforpolitical
office,andweincluded thisinourmeasure ofsocialparticipation. Responses
werecoded0 fornota member to3 fora very active member. Thesocialpartici-
pation index for1965wascreated bysumming thescores onthese variables.
Church attendance. Anitetn measured student's frequency ofchurch atten-
dance,which wereverse-coded to make high numbers equal more frequent at-
tendance ( 1 = never, 2 = a fewtimes a year, 3 = once or twice a month, 4 = al-
most every week, 5 = weekly). Inthe1973wave, this question was not asked of
those whoindicated noreligiouspreference.
Church activism. An indexconsisted ofcombined scores from twoitems,
thefirst measuring extent ofparticipation inchurchrelated organization (0 =
nota member, 1 = member butnotactive, 2 = fairly active member, 3 = very
activemember), thesecond measuring church attendance ( 1 = never, 2 = a few
times a year, 3 = onceortwicea month, 4 = almost every week, 5 weekly).
-
Respondents scored1 ontheactivism index ifthey reported 1, 2 or3 on the
church attendance itemand0 to 1 ontheparticipation in church-related orga-
nization measure, otherwise they received a score of2.
Denominational category. The original 99 denominational codes,as re-
ported in1965,werecollapsed intofourteen forthepurposes ofcomparing mean
volunteering ratesandintofiveforthemultivariate analysis stage.Liberal
Protestants = Presbyterian, UnitedChurchofChrist(Congregationalist),
Episcopal, Unitarian; Moderate Protestant = Methodist, Disciples, Lutheran;
Conservative Protestant = Baptist,Mormon, Christian, Pentecostal. "Other" isa
residualcategory, Catholic includes allforms ofcatholicism, andthefifth cate-
gory isnoreligious affiliation.
Volunteerism. An indexofstudent's responses toa questionnaire itemwas
askedfirst in1973andrepeated in 1982."Haveyoueverworked withothers to
solvesomecommunity problem?" Twomentions were allowed in1973andthree
mentions wereallowed in1982.Scoresrange from 0 tO 2 in1973and0 tO 3 in

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142 SOCIOLOGYOF RELlGION

1982.In 1982a newquestion on volunteerism wasaddedtothesurvey. This


questionasked: "Apartfrom anywork forwhich youreceive pay,doyoudoany
volunteerwork, ornot?"Responses werecodedinto"types ofgroups,
organi-
zations,andprograms." Amongthetypeswasincluded "churchconnected
(e.g.,ladies'group,
groupssJ church bingo, church nursery). were
Respondents
giventhree opportunities tomention "volunteer work" theydid.Wetherefore
codedthisvariable inthesamemanner asthe4'community problems"question,
givingita range of0S3.Notaskedin1973the"volunteer work" isun-
question
usableinthecausalmodels weconstruct. However,sinceitavoidsanyreference
to solvingcommunity problems andprovides a 'sprompt" vol-
forchurchSrelated
unteering, measure
it is a crude ofmore "sacred" asopposed volunteer-
tosecular
ing.
Occupational Occupation
status. wascodedindifferent ways,dependingon
theyearofthesurvey. To achieveconsistency andtomakecomparisons and
correlations weconverted
feasible, alloccupational codesintotheDuncanSES
codefor1970* Thecoderuns from1 to 99.
Education. Levelofeducationwasmeasured inyears ranging
ofschooling,
from 12to 21.
Parental status.Number ofchildren ranging from 0 to6 wasused.
RESULTS
In 1973respondents weregiventwo chances to mention a volunteer activ-
ity. Seventy-three percent madenomention, 22percent mentioned oneand5
percent mentioned two.In 1982respondents weregiventhree chances. Sixty-
four percentmadenomention; 27percent mentioned one,7 percent mentioned
twoand2 percent mentioned three.Thus,onlyaboutonequarter oftheyoung
adultsinterviewed in 1973weredoingvolunteer work. The proportion ofre-
spondents mentioning at leastonevolunteer activity islower thanthe45 per
centreported in a 1988Galluppollconducted fortheIndependent Sector
(Wuthnow 1991:6),andmuch lower thanthe51percent reportedina follow-up
survey in1991(Hodgkinson andWeitzman 1992:45). Someofthisdiscrepancy
might beaccounted forbytheageoftherespondents in1973;early adulthood is
nota prime timeforvolunteering. Butsincethesecondwavein 1982caught
peopleintheir peakperiod ofvolunteering activity, agecannot account forall
thediscrepancy between thesurveys, fortheproportion reporting at least one
volunteer inourdatasethasonlyrisen
activity to36percent. Another possibil-
itymight bethatrates ofvolunteering hadrisen between 1982and1988(andre-
ports ofphilanthropicactivityinthe1980swould seemto backthisup),butthe
increase necessarytobring thisaboutistoosteeptobeplausible. Another possi-
bility isthattheGallupquestion encouraged morepositive responses, sinceit
prompted respondentswitha listoforganizations forwhich theymight possibly
havevolunteeredv TheGallupquestion wasalsomore general,sinceitdidnot
identify "community problems" as thetargetofvolunteering. BothofthesedifS
ferences inquestion wording couldhelpaccount for the numbers
larger reporting
volunteer activity
inthe Gallup surveys.

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THE CONTRIBUTIONOF RELIGIONTO VOLUNTEERWORK 143

Denornirlational Differences
mean
Table1 reports across
involunteering
differences denomi-
religious
thenon-affiliated).
(including
nations
TABLE 1

1973and1982byDenomination
inVolunteering
MeanDifferences
1973 1982
n Mean n Mean
Protestant
Liberal
Episcopalian 20 .50 26 .50
Presbyterian 56 .39 61 .50
Unitarian 6 .33 5 .00
United 30 .40 23 .61
ModerateProtestant
Lutheran 54 .20 57 .44
Methodist 103 .26 106 .59
Protestant
Conservative
Baptist 171 .27 175 .38
Christian 13 .23 8 .62
Mormon 12 .33 13 .61
Pentecostal 41 .32 48 .50
Catholic 185 .41 171 .49
Jew 29 .55 34 .59
Other 56 .34 88 .47
None 123 .26 106 .38

Young adultsprovidedpartial forthetheory


support affiliation
thatreligious
encourages Peoplewitha religious
volunteering. weremorelikely
affiliation to
volunteerthanthosewithout butnotall.WhileCatholics, andEpisco-
Jews,
paliansscoredmuchhigher on thevolunteeringindexthantheunaffiliated,
Lutherans,Methodists, andChristians
Baptists, scorednohigher, andformany
othersthere wereminor andstatistically Datafrom
differences.
insignificant the
thirdwave,in1982,provided somewhatstrongersupportforthetheory thatre-
encourages
affiliation
ligious although
volunteering, thelownumbers inmany of
thecategoriesandthelowoverall rates
ofvolunteering makereliablecompar-
isons AllbuttheUnitarians
difficult. volunteeredata rateequaltoorabovethat
oftheunaffiliated.However, onlythedifferencebetween theMethodistsand
significant.
isstatistically
theunaffiliated
The dataprovide mixedsupport forthehypothesis that,amongchurch
members, denominational exist
differences in ratesofvolunteering.In 1973,
Jewsweremorelikely thananyothers,
tO volunteer whilethemeans forliberal
groups United,
suchas Presbyterians, andEpiscopaliansarealsohigherthanfor
moreconservative Protestant Catholics,
groups. however, at about
volunteered

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144 SOCIOLOGYOF RELIGION

thesamerateas liberal Protestants,


atleastwhenthey wereyoung adults.
Some
oftheinterfaithdifferences
reported byearlier
studies(e.g.,Greeley andRossi
1966;Wuthnow 1991)showing Protestantswithhigher ratesofvolunteering
thanCatholics might thereforebe misleadingbecause theyfailtodistinguish
amongProtestants. Compared to liberal
Protestants,Catholicswereno more
likelytovolunteer.Compared toconservative Protestants,
however, they were.
Whileonly8 percent ofSouthern Baptists
gave"toppriority" tO supporting
"causestoimprove theentirecommunity," 17percent ofCatholics didso,asdid
15percent ofMethodists (GallupandCastelli 1987:22).
Bythe1982wave,whenrespondents weremiddle aged,thesedenomina-
tionaldifferences
hadallbutdisappeared. Onlythedifference between Metho-
distsandBaptistsisstatistically
significant.
Thenumbers inmany ofthecellsin
Table1 arequitesmallandperhaps significant
differenceswouldhaveemerged
witha largersample, butthisisnotthefirsttimedenominational differences
in
volunteeringhavefailed toemerge. Clydesdale (1990:201)useda question on
"volunteerworkfora community organizationother thana church,suchascivic
group orcharity,"
which wasaskedina 1988Galluppolltotneasure liberal-con-
servativedifferences involunteering. He foundthat,oncevtlunteering for
specifically
religiouspurposesisexcluded,"41percent oftheevangelicals volun-
teered and38 percent ofnon-evangelicals volunteered.'Mock(1992)asked
members ofelevendifferentdenominations tosaywhether ornottheir congre-
gation wassocially
active;hefound nolinearrelationshipbetween thetheologi-
calconservatismofthecongregation andsocialactivism.
Geographical location
ofthecongregation wasmuch more important.
Church
Attendarlce
andVolunteering

Weexpected thatfrequentchurch attenderswould bemore likely


tovolun-
teer.
Table2 reportsmeanvolunteer scoresforallrespondents in1973and1982
andmeanvolunteer scoresforseparatedenominational categoriesfor1973and
1982,byfrequency ofchurch attendance. In 1973,respondents whoindicated
noreligiouspreference
were notaskedthechurch attendancequestion.Thefirst
column thusreportsthevolunteer means forvarious churchattendance frequen-
ciesforthosereporting
a religious
affiliation
in1973(n = 794).
Noneofthedifferences involunteering bychurch attendance shown inthe
first
column arestatistically
significant,
although thedifferencesinthemeanrun
inthepredicteddirection.
Inthesecond column, themeanvolunteering rateof
weekly churchattendersisnearly twicethatofthenon-attenders. Thissecond
column, reporting1982data,includes thosewithout a religious
affiliation.
The
"never attend"categorythusundoubtedly includesmanypeopleunaffiliated
witha religious
denomination.Actual frequency ofchurch attendance,whether
itbeonlya fewtimes a yearorevery week, didnotmakemuch difference
tothe
chances ofvolunteering,
atleastforthesample asa whole. Themost significant
breakisbetween thosewhonever attendedandthose whoattended, a breakthat
overlapswiththosewhobelonged toa church andthosewhodidnot.Thisis
whytheother columns inthetableareimportant, becausethey refertochurch
members only.

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TABLE 2

1973and1982byLevelofChurchAt
inVolunteering
MeanDifferences
Category
ByDenominational
All Conservative Liberal
Church 1973 1982 1973 1982 1973 1982
Attendance n=794 n-924 n=237 n=244 n=112 n=115 n
Never .29 .34 .25 .23 .29 .25

Fewtimesa year .28 .46 .21 .45 .41 .47

Onceortwicea month .36 .46 .32 .42 .66 .38

Monthly .40 .54 .42 .38 .22 .70

Weekly .38 .58 .25 .48 .40 .84

OverallMean .33 .48 .28 .42 .24 .50

Pr> .22 .01 .35 .62 .31 .04

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146 SOClOLOGYOF RELIGION

Theother columns inthetablereport inthemeanlevels


differences ofvol-
unteeringfor1973and1982foreachdenominational byfrequency
category, of
churchattendance.Among youngadultconservative frequency
Protestants, of
church attendance to volunteering,
is related buttherelation is curvilinear
whoattended
those church frequently
very wereasunlikelyto volunteer asthose
whonever attended.By1982,thisrelation hadbecomelinear such that the
mostfrequentchurch were
attenders themost tovolunteer}
likely butthediffer-
ences(atleastinthissample)arenotsignificant. Thethirdcolumn shows that,
among young themost
Protestants,
liberal difference
significant asfarasvolunS
teeringisconcernedwasthatbetween casualchurch attendance (i.e.,onceor
twicea month) andneverattending. Bythetimeliberal Protestants reached
middleage,therelation hadbecome more andthedifference
linear between fre-
quentchurch attendance andneverattending church ismore striking Thelarge
groupofmoderate wereunaffected
Protestants byfrequency ofchurch atten-
danceineither waveofthestudy Young adultCatholicswhoattended church
weeklyweremore1ikely thaninfrequent attenderstovolunteer, andthediffer-
encehadbecome more markedbythetimethey reachedmiddle age.
OqJer
andVolurlteerzng
Religion theLifeCourse

Thedatapresented thusfarsuggestquitestrongly thattheimpact ofchurch


attendanceon volunteeringvariesnotonlybydenomination but,within each
denomination, stage.
bylifeScourse Inthefinalpartofouranalysis, wetestour
concerning
hypotheses theimpact ofreligious onvolunteering.
socialization We
expectthatchildren rearedinreligiousfamilies willbe morelikelytodevelop
thehabitofvolunteering.Thefamily isnot theonlysource ofsocializationinto
values;theschoolis important,
participation too(Hodgkinson andWeitzman
Therefore,
1992:270). wealsotestfortheeffect onadultvolunteeringofpartici-
pationinhighschoolextraScurricular Wealsoexpect
activities. thatvolunteer-
ingintheearly adultyearswillbeinfluenced bythedegree ofintegrationofthe
respondentintothechurch duringthose yearsJ
Turning tO volunteeringinmiddle age,weexpect tofindconsiderablecon-
across
sistency wavesandtherefore predict thatthosewhovolunteered in 1973
willbemorelikely tovolunteer in 1982.Ourmajor hypothesis,however, con-
cernstheimpact ofchurch activism. We expecttofindthatchurch activism
subsequentto 1973hada positive impact onchangeinvolunteering. Thatis,
thosewhoparticipated inthechurch between 1973and1982werelikely toin-
creasetheir whilethosewhodidnot participate
volunteering, intheir church
to decrease
werelikely their
volunteering overits 1973amount.
Table3 showsthatparent's church attendance hada significant,albeit
weak}impact onvolunteering in1973fortheconservative butthis
Protestants,
istheonlyreligion variabletohaveanyimpact on thevolunteer ratesofthis
group.

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TABLE 3

OLS Regression
Estimates
ofVolunteering
in 1973 and1982ByDenominat
(standardized
estimates)
Conservative Liberal M
1973 1982 1973 19Ss2 1973
Parent's
ChurchAttendance .13* .06 -.02 -.04 .08

HighSchoolParticipation .02* .03 .06 *13 .05

1913ChurchActivism rec
.UJ
--os

.01
1973Volunteer .36***
.18***

1982ChurchActivism .16*t*
.04
Occupation
(1982) .16
.09

Education
(1982) -.05
.06
Parental
Status(1982) .09
.16*
N 267
102
221 121
185
.04
.11 .01 .22
.01

* p<.O5
.01
p <<
*ool
** p
+r@F

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148 SOCIOLOGYOF RELIGION

Thesecondtwo columns inTable3 showhowdifferent thepattern ofvol-


unteering isforliberalProtestants. Noneofthevariables intended tocapture
early
socialization predicts1973volunteering. Nordidthey havea direct effect
on 1982volunteering. The relation between volunteeringinthe 1973 and 1982
wavesisvery strongforliberals,buttheseedswere notplanted by early religious
Thepicture
activity. isdifferent inthethird wave,however, fortherelation be-
tween church activismin1982andvolunteering in1982ispositive, indicating
thatreligion hadhelpedboostvolunteering overits1973level.Thefifth and
sixth
columns inTable3 showthatmoderate Protestantsresembled conservative
Protestantsmore thananyother group.Theirvolunteering wasunaffected byei-
therthereligious activismoftheir parents ortheirownreligious activism inthe
second wave,andsubsequent church activism didnothing toeither increase or
decreasevolunteer levelsbetween ages26and35.
Theseventh andeighth columns showthattheCatholics resembled most
theliberal Protestants.In contrast toeither moderate orconservative Protes-
tants,Catholics activeintheir church between 1973and1982werelikely to
increasetheirvolunteering overtheir1973levels.Onestriking difference be-
tween Catholics andliberals isthathighschoolsocialparticipation encouraged
volunteering laterinlife.Analysis oftherelation between highschoolsocial
participation,church activism, andvolunteering in 1973(notshown)reveals
that,netoftheeffects ofparent's church attendance,highschool socialpartici-
pationhadbotha direct effect onvolunteering in 1973andan indirect effect,
through itspositive impact on church activism in 1973. Catholics appear to
havegained from theirschools whatmembers ofno otherdenominational cate-
goryreceive-a disposition tobesocially activeinbothchurch organizations
andinmoresecular volunteer work. It isstrikingthat onlyfor Catholics and
conservative Protestantswerehighschoolactivities an influence on volunteer-
ing.Theinterpretation ofthisrelation might not,however, bethesame.Inthe
case of conservative Protestants in 1965,before the riseofconservative
Protestant "academies," muchofthisschooling wouldhavebeensecular and
thereforesocialinvolvement intheschoolpulledthisgroup ofconservatives
awayfrom theologicaldoctrine intovolunteering. Formost oftheCatholics in
1965,ontheother hand,most ofthisschooling would havebeenparochial, re-
inforcingtheologicaldoctrine encouraging "goodworks."
DISCUSSION
Thedatapresented inthispaper indicatethattherelation between religion
andvolunteeringismuchmorecomplex thanpreviously believed. It isnotalS
waystruethatpeoplereared homes
inreligious aremore likelytovolunteer than
thoserearedbynonSreligious Onlyamong
parents. conservative Protestantsdoes
parental haveanyimpact
religiosity on young adults'volunteering, butthose
ownchurch
adult's activism outto havenosubsequent
turns impact. We will
tothisissuebelow.
return Thedatadosupport thetheory thatsocialintegration
encouragesvolunteering. However, thisagainisnottrue forallreligious denom-
Church
inations. activism thelikelihood
increases ofvolunteering onlyamong
Catholics(inbothwaves)andliberal Protestants(intheir mid-thirties).Social

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THE CONTRIBUTIONOF RELIGlONTO VOLUNTEERWORK 149

integration intothechurch hasno impact on thelikelihood ofvolunteering


among either conservative ormoderate Protestants.
Howcanthesedenominational differences intheimpact ofchurch activism
onvolunteering beexplained? Thedatareported inTable2 indicate among
that
young conservative Protestants volunteering iscurvilinearly relatedtodegree of
integration into thechurch. Veryfrequent church attenders areas unlikely to
volunteer as thosewhoneverattend. Thiswouldsuggest thatconservative
churches do indeed discourage more 4'secular"activities among theirmore com-
mitted members, as others haveargued. Conservative Protestant churches proS
videtheir members with a richarray ofopportunities to"volunteer." 1 heyare,if
anything, morecommunal thanmoderate and liberalProtestant churches
(Roozen etal. 1984:241<245). However, a greater proportion oftheir organizaS
tional activities catertotheir ownmembers, areaimed at maintaining thesocial
fabric ofthechurch, orarethinly-disguised missionary Thistype
enterprises. of
activity reliesheavily onvoluntary labor.
Theideathatchurch activism affects thetype, rather thantheamount, of
volunteering thusappears to have somefoundation. Thiscanbesubstantiated by
looking at theother question onvolunteering contained intheYouth-Parent
Socialization study.Recallthat,inthiscase,respondents wereaskedwhether
theydidvolunteer work. No reference is madetocommunity problems anda
prompt isprovided for'schurch connected groups.' A comparison between reo
sponses tO this question andresponses totheearlier volunteerism question isin
structive. Intheearlier version ofthevolunteer question, thecodefor"church
organizations" elicitedonly two responses in 1973 and one response in 1982.
Thecodefor"church-connected groups" under thedifferently worded volun-
teering question in 1982 elicited22.2percent of all responses, byfar the largest
categoryX followed by"school-related" ( 16.0percent) and "youth-oriented" ( 15.8
percent). Thecombination ofa slightlydifferently worded volunteering question
anda different coding scheme, placing responses intocategories oforganizations
rather thanareas(e.g.,health), boosted thecountofchurch-related volunteerS
ing.
A comparison bydenominational group
ofresponsesto thetwo questionsin
1982shows nodifferenceforconservative (their
Protestants meanscorewas.42
onthecommunity problems and+42onthe"volunteer
variable work"variable).
Bothliberal ProtestantandCatholicrespcondents reportedhigher"volunteer
work"scoresthan"community problems"scores.However, theinclusion of
churchwrelatedgroupsasa volunteeroption thepattern
alters ofassociationbeS
tweenchurch attendance andvolunteering.Whereas church made
attendance
nodifferencetothe"solvecommunity volunteer
problems" within
variable the
conservativeProtestantgroup,ithasa definite
impactonthe"volunteer workX'
lShemeanvolunteer
variable. conservative
ratefor whonever
Protestants attend
churchis .38;fortheconservative whoattend
Protestants church weeklythe
meanvolunteer rateis.71.(Thisdifference atthe.035level.)The
issignificant
conclusionisobvious: dovolunteer
Protestants
conservative workmoreifthey

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150 SOCIOLOGYOF RELIGION

areintegrated intothechurch, butwhattheyvolunteer forischurch mainte-


nancework.3
Within theCatholic community, church involvement hasa positive effect
on volunteering inbothearly adulthood andinmiddle age.Thefactthatthe
weekly massis"[t]he focalpoint ofCatholic religiouslife"(GallupandCastelli
1987:26)might helpexplain this.Frequentandregular participation inchurch
activities
isconsidered a more accuratemeasureoffaith andrequirement forsal-
vationamong Catholics thanisthecaseinother denominational groups (Glock
andStark1965:104). Thisinitself wouldnotentirely account forthefictthat
Catholics aretheonlyyoung adultsforwhomvariation in church activism
makes a difference.Catholics comeclosest tothestereotypical image ofthecon-
nection between religiosityandgoodworks. Theyarea religious denomination
in whichvolunteering isencouraged andwhere frequent church attendance,
evenforyoung people,isstrongly encouraged as a signofcommitment. The
variousProtestant groups, ontheother hand,either donotmandate secularvol-
unteerwork, preferringto leave it totheconscience oftheindividual} ordonot
placea highpremium onchurch attendanceo

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