The effects of "mandatory volunteerism" on intentions to volunteer

Arthur A. Stukas, Mark Snyder, E. Gil Clary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

168 Scopus citations


With the widespread emergence of required community-service programs comes a new opportunity to examine the effects of requirements on future behavioral intentions. To investigate the consequences of such "mandatory volunteerism" programs, we followed students who were required to volunteer in order to graduate from college. Results demonstrated that stronger perceptions of external control eliminated an otherwise positive relation between prior volunteer experience and future intentions to volunteer. A second study experimentally compared mandates and choices to serve and included a premeasured assessment of whether students felt external control was necessary to get them to volunteer. After being required or choosing to serve, students reported their future intentions. Students who initially felt it unlikely that they would freely volunteer had significantly lower intentions after being required to serve than after being given a choice. Those who initially felt more likely to freely volunteer were relatively unaffected by a mandate to serve as compared with a choice. Theoretical and practical implications for understanding the effects of requirements and constraints on intentions and behavior are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-64
Number of pages6
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1999


Dive into the research topics of 'The effects of "mandatory volunteerism" on intentions to volunteer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this