Date of Award

5-2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

International Family and Community Studies

Advisor

Small, Mark

Committee Member

McDonell , James

Committee Member

Holaday , Bonnie

Committee Member

Vakova , Jitka

Abstract

Using data from a convenience sample of 274 respondents, 55 years and older and living in the Czech Republic, the author carried out an exploratory research study to shed more light on volunteering among Czech senior citizens. Volunteering is currently promoted by the government of the Czech Republic, but as yet, remains an under-researched topic. The investigation of presumed low volunteer rates among Czech senior citizens was framed by two theories--social capital theory and socio-structural resources theory--and additionally by country specific factors that take into account geographical structure and historical development. The socio-structural resources were represented by variables related to age, relationship status, gender, education, income, employment status, health, religiosity, and free time. Social capital theory was represented by variables related to social trust, frequency of contacts with friends, neighbors, and family (informal social capital), and associational membership. Country specific variables were represented by levels of helping, size of hometown, years spent in current hometown, mobility mode, and volunteering literacy. Among all predictors, NGO membership, social trust, volunteering literacy, helping, age, and gender were found to be the best predictors of volunteering status. To quite a surprise, volunteers were not found to be healthier, wealthier, more trusting, or more educated then non-volunteers. Despite the fact that among all post-communist countries, the Czech Republic ranks the highest on both social trust and volunteering, social trust, contrary to the international research, seems to negatively influence person's likelihood of volunteering. At the same time, contrary to the assumption that close-tied informal networks substitute for formal ones as a carry-over from the communism, helping was not found to be a substitute for volunteering. It was revealed that a higher level of helping was associated with a higher level of volunteering.

Share

COinS