Education of the Heart and Mind: Community Service among Students at Emory Open Access

Du, Rebecca Young (2015)

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Community service has long been a distinctive feature in the landscape of social life in the United States. More recently it has become incorporated into educational pedagogies, especially in secondary and higher education institutions. This study captures a snapshot of community service at Emory and examines the possible value and reciprocity of community service in higher education. Using quantitative indexes measuring emotional, social, and psychological well-being, time managements behaviors, and general self-efficacy as well as qualitative semi-structured ethnographic interviews, this study aims to gain a better understanding of the following questions: Who at Emory volunteers? Why do they volunteer? What do they gain out of volunteering? Using frequency of volunteering as the independent variable, this study examines differences between students who volunteered only once or twice an academic semester and students who volunteered on a weekly basis. All of the study participants were undergraduate students at Emory who had volunteered at least once throughout the Fall 2014 semester through Volunteer Emory. Overall, there were no significant quantitative findings; however, the qualitative findings revealed a more nuanced explanation to the lack of findings. It was observed that participation in community service was associated with psychological benefits, increased senses of social responsibility and belonging to community, and career callings. No definitive conclusions could be made, but the findings in this study do suggest the possibility that participating in community service is associated with enhanced emotional, social, and psychological well-being as well as academic development. This study provides implications for the use of community service as a tool to enrich and improve the experiences of students during higher education. Even participating in community service once or twice a semester may be associated with many of the positive benefits attributed to community service.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Project Origination

Research Questions

Chapter 1: Background and Literature Review 3

Community Service in the United States

Demographic Trends of Participation in Community Service

Theories of Volunteering

Predispositions to Volunteering

Defining Community Service as an Educational Practice

Community Service and Social Responsibility

Community Service and Well-being

Eudaimonic and Hedonic Well-being

Correlations between Community Service and Well-being

Community Service and Academic Development

Is All Community Service Equal?

The College Environment

Demographic Trends in College Enrollment

Who Participates in Community Service during College, and Why?

Chapter 2: Methodology 29


Variables and Measurements Statistical Analysis Hypotheses

Chapter 3: Results 38

Quantitative Results: Survey

Demographic Information of Survey Participants

Self-Reported Measurements

Qualitative Results: Ethnographic Interviews

Demographic Information of Interview Participants

Why do Students Participate in Community Service?

Psychological Benefits of Community Service

Social Responsibility and Prosocial Orientations

Connecting through Community Service

Stress Relief, Escaping from "Normal" Life

The Reciprocal Impact of Community Service

Community Service, Academic Interests, and Career Goals

What Prevents Students from Volunteering?

Chapter 4: Discussion 70

Psychological Well-being: Depression, Anxiety, and Stress

General Self-Efficacy

The Mental Health Continuum: Emotional, Social, and Psychological Well-being

Time Management Behaviors

Volunteering at Emory

Community Service and Academic Development

Community Service and Human Evolutionary History

Chapter 5: Conclusion and Limitations 92


Limitations and Recommendations

References 97

Appendix I: Quantitative Data 105

Consent to be a Research Participant

The General Self-Efficacy Scale (GSE)

Mental Health Continuum, Short Form (MHC-SF)

Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale, 21 (DASS21)

Time Management Behavior Scale (TMB)

Volunteer Experiences and Extracurricular Activities

Appendix II: Qualitative Data 115

Ethnographic Interview Script

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