Community Participation & Volunteerism

Community Participation & Volunteerism

In rounds 9, 11, and 15-16, respondents answered questions about participating in unpaid volunteer work, including any activities aimed at changing social conditions. Respondents indicated the main reason for doing the work: court ordered, required for a school or religious group, or strictly voluntary. Related follow-up questions included asking about the frequency of attending a meeting or event for a political, environmental, or community group, whether the respondent donated money to a political, environmental, or community cause, and the total amount of money donated in the past 12 months.

In round 11, a subsample of respondents answered questions about donating blood, giving to the homeless, returning extra change to the cashier, letting someone ahead of them while in line, and allowing an acquaintance to borrow a valuable item. Questions were also asked about personal responsibility (such as whether individuals should look after themselves or whether people should help the less fortunate) and community participation questions (such as how important it is to vote, serve on jury duty, report a crime, and keep informed).

Related Questions: In round 1, respondents estimated the percentage of their peers who did volunteer work. Also in round 1, the Parent Questionnaire included a question asking parents if they had volunteered to help in the school or classroom sometime during the previous three years.

Comparison to Other NLS Surveys: The 2006, 2010 and 2012 NLSY79 surveys asked a series of questions on volunteerism, including number of weeks, hours per week, and for what type of organization the NLSY79 respondent volunteered the most hours. The NLSY79 Young Adult survey gathered information about volunteerism in each survey year. Within the Original Cohort surveys, the Young Women and Mature Women cohorts were asked questions about volunteer work during several survey years.

Survey Instruments: These questions can be found in the Self Administered section (question names begin with SAQ) or the Tell Us What You Think section (question names begin with YTEL) of the Youth Questionnaire.

Main Area of Interest Attitudes
Pro-Social Activities