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Free Content Beyond universalistic motivations: towards an adolescent volunteer functions inventory

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This article argues that unique psychosocial characteristics of adolescents are overlooked by the Volunteer Functions Inventory and suggests a modified inventory for adolescent volunteers. For this purpose, we studied adolescent volunteer motivations through a mixed-methods approach including focus groups and exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis. We found a unique composition of volunteer motivations, resulting in an adolescent volunteer motivations scale with five functions: protective, career, enhancement/understanding, values, plus an adolescence-specific function that involves individuation and group identity.

The findings from this exploratory study emphasise the importance of context for the understanding of volunteer motivations, and call for further exploration of the uniqueness of adolescent volunteers, including the role of youth subcultures and group identity. Such an understanding has a bearing on the way volunteers should be recruited and retained, as well as how volunteer motivations should be measured.
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Keywords: Volunteer Functions Inventory; adolescents; psychosocial developmental theory; volunteer motivations

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July, 2019

This article was made available online on July 29, 2019 as a Fast Track article with title: "Beyond universalistic motivations: towards an adolescent volunteer functions inventory".

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  • Voluntary Sector Review publishes high-quality, peer-reviewed, accessible papers on third sector research, policy and practice. It is an invaluable cutting-edge resource for all those researching or working in the fast-growing voluntary, community and wider third sectors.

    The journal covers the full range of issues relevant to voluntary sector studies, including: definitional and theoretical debates; management and organisational development; financial and human resources; philanthropy; volunteering and employment; regulation and charity law; service delivery; civic engagement; industry and sub-sector dimensions; relations with other sectors; social enterprise; evaluation and impact. Voluntary Sector Review covers voluntary sector studies from a variety of disciplines, including sociology, social policy, politics, psychology, economics, business studies, social anthropology, philosophy and ethics. The journal includes work from the UK and Europe, and beyond, where cross-national comparisons are illuminating. With dedicated expert policy and practice sections, Voluntary Sector Review also provides an essential forum for the exchange of ideas and new thinking.

    Rigorous and stimulating, Voluntary Sector Review is an indispensable tool for everyone who values empirically-grounded, theoretically-informed and policy-relevant reviews of the future direction of the voluntary sector.

    Editors: Nick Acheson (Trinity College, University of Dublin, Ireland), Bernard Harris (University of Strathclyde, UK), Rob Macmillan, (University of Birmingham, UK)

    The journal is published in association with the Voluntary Sector Studies Network (VSSN) and a print copy of the journal is a membership benefit.

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