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Thomas Library

Honors Thesis Archive

Author Katherine Westlund
Title Who does service: The relationship between postmaterialist values and community service
Department Sociology
Advisors Doug Andrews, Keith Doubt, and James Allan
Year 2005
Honors University Honors
Full Text View Thesis (339 KB)
Abstract Do people with more altruistic values actually help others? This study examines whether people with postmaterialist values tend to do more community service. This research will show whether or not there is a relationship between postmaterialist values and the amount of community service that someone actively does. Postmaterialists are those that place others and community welfare above personal welfare with more traditional values about right, wrong, and helping others. Materialists are those that value personal welfare and gain above the welfare of others, having more personal economic motivations associated with scarcity. Current research shows that there are particular value sets that tend towards service and that postmaterialists are more service- minded. In order to test the hypothesis that students with stronger postmaterialist values tend to do more service, I surveyed a sample of Wittenberg college students to assess their values on a scale from materialist to postmaterialist and the amount of community service done. It is helpful to know if values can indicate or help to interpret who does service and to what degree. This study is important because there have not been many research projects linking specific value sets to community service and with the recent steady rise in the number of individuals who volunteer in the United States, there are more people doing service. The results show no clear correlations between the amount of service completed by a student and the materialist to postmaterialist value score. However, Wittenberg students who have completed the service requirement tend to have more postmaterialist values than those who have not completed the service requirement.

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