Considerations of community: The context and process of volunteerism

Allen M. Omoto, Mark Snyder

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

278 Scopus citations


In this article, the authors examine the role of community in understanding volunteerism. First, the authors present a model of the volunteer process that identifies three stages (antecedents, experiences, consequences) and three levels of analysis (individual, organization, social system). Next, the authors propose two features of community - community as context for volunteerism and psychological sense of community- and articulate the implications of these features for the processes of volunteerism. Then, empirical evidence from studies of AIDS volunteers and their clients is reviewed that suggests (a) how communities and psychological sense of community encourage people to volunteer and connect with others and (b) how connecting to communities appears to be beneficial for the functioning of people living with HIV. Finally, the authors argue that explicit considerations of community can also contribute to understanding other forms of individual and collective action as well as broader civic and societal participation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)846-867+762
JournalAmerican Behavioral Scientist
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002


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