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J Adolesc. 2014 Jan;37(1):53-66. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2013.10.010. Epub 2013 Nov 20.

Role-modeling and conversations about giving in the socialization of adolescent charitable giving and volunteering.

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Department of Economics, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), 425 University Boulevard, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA; Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, 550 West North Street # 301, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA. Electronic address:
Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology, Indiana University Bloomington, 201 North Rose Avenue, Bloomington, IN 47405-1006, USA. Electronic address:
School of Psychological Sciences, University of Indianapolis, 1400 East Hanna Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46227, USA. Electronic address:


This study investigated the relationship between the monetary giving and volunteering behavior of adolescents and the role-modeling and conversations about giving provided by their parents. The participants are a large nationally-representative sample of 12-18 year-olds from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics' Child Development Supplement (n = 1244). Adolescents reported whether they gave money and whether they volunteered. In a separate interview parents reported whether they talked to their adolescent about giving. In a third interview, parents reported whether they gave money and volunteered. The results show that both role-modeling and conversations about giving are strongly related to adolescents' giving and volunteering. Knowing that both role-modeling and conversation are strongly related to adolescents' giving and volunteering suggests an often over-looked way for practitioners and policy-makers to nurture giving and volunteering among adults: start earlier, during adolescence, by guiding parents in their role-modeling of, and conversations about, charitable giving and volunteering.


Charitable giving; Modeling; Positive behavior; Prosocial behavior; Socialization; Volunteering

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