Physical and Social Perceptions of the Neighbourhood and Youth Volunteerism: Canada’s Capital Region

Sean Pearce, Elizabeth Kristjansson


Youth are embedded within various ecological systems that may impact their philanthropic behaviour. This study employed online data from a sample of undergraduate students and traced the various pathways through which neighbourhood perceptions (e.g., social cohesion, satisfaction with amenities) related to formal and informal volunteering intensities. Path analyses revealed that neighbourhood cohesion directly predicted formal and informal volunteer frequency; as well, it mediated the relationship between satisfaction with neighbourhood amenities and informal volunteerism. Neighbourhood cohesion was strongly associated with informal volunteer intensity, whereas satisfaction with neighbourhood attractiveness did not relate to any volunteer outcomes. Neighbourhood characteristics may be important drivers of youth volunteerism, and thus stakeholders, organizations, and individuals should consider the impact of the social environmental context on shaping youths’ helping behaviour.

Les jeunes font partie de divers systèmes écologiques qui peuvent influencer leur comportement philanthropique. Cette étude utilise des données recueillies en ligne à partir d’un échantillon d’étudiants de premier cycle afin de retracer les divers parcours par lesquels leur perception de leur quartier (par exemple, sa cohésion sociale, leur satisfaction par rapport aux services offerts) a une incidence sur leurs activités bénévoles formelles et informelles. L’analyse révèle que la cohésion sociale a comme effet d’augmenter le bénévolat formel et informel. En outre, la cohésion semble augmenter le bénévolat informel là où il y a satisfaction par rapport aux services offerts dans la communauté. En effet, il y a une forte corrélation entre la cohésion d’un quartier et le bénévolat informel. En revanche, la satisfaction à l’égard du pittoresque d’un quartier ne paraît pas avoir d’incidence sur le niveau d’implication philanthropique. Il n’empêche qu’en général un bon quartier peut motiver les jeunes à faire du bénévolat. Ainsi, les parties prenantes, les organisations et les individus devraient tenir compte du contexte socioenvironnemental sur le comportement philanthropique des jeunes.


Volunteering; Youth; Neighbourhoods; Informal volunteering; Cohesion / Bénévolat; Jeunesse; Quartiers; Bénévolat informel; Cohésion

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