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Over the past 20 years, U.S. first-year college students have reported a declining interest in arriving at a meaningful philosophy of life, participating in their communities, and advocating for the well-being of the disadvantaged -- in contrast to a growing interest in becoming financially successful and gaining recognition (Astin, Green, & Korn, 1987; Dey, Astin, & Korn, 1991). A corrective that is frequently suggested as a remedy for this type of self-preoccupation is community service (Delve, Mintz, & Stewart, 1990; Hedin & Conrad, 1980; Kendall, 1990a, 1990b; Williams, 1980).

Thus, in the present study we attempted to determine whether students who had volunteer experience would be more likely than students in a control group to exhibit an altruistic response (make a financial contribution to a charitable cause).


Originally published: Stevick, R. A., & Addleman, J. A. (1995). Effects of short-term volunteer experience on self-perceptions and prosocial behavior. The Journal of Social Psychology, 135(5), 663–665.

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