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Your Gender May Affect Generosity

An interesting new study focuses on moral identity and gender, and how these characteristics may influence how people choose among charities.

With so many worthy charities soliciting donations, the researchers wanted to understand how people make these critical decisions.

“We gave people in the United States $5 that they could allocate to Hurricane Katrina victims, Indian Ocean tsunami victims, or themselves,” explain the authors of the study.

“On average, people kept $1.10 for themselves and donated the rest. However, the actual amount donated to each charity depended on people’s gender and moral identity.”

The authors described moral identity as the extent to which being moral, fair, and just is part of someone’s self-identity.

Gender identity (which generally correlates with biological sex) is defined by how much a person focuses on communal goals, like considering the welfare of others (considered “feminine”) versus “agentic” goals, like assertiveness, control, and focus on the self (considered “masculine”).

During the experiments, the researchers found that participants with a feminine gender identity who placed a high importance on being moral gave equally to hurricane and tsunami victims. Participants with a masculine gender identity who valued morality gave more to Katrina victims than tsunami victims.

“These findings suggest that donations are not simply driven by cause-worthiness. Rather they may be driven by the extent of overlap people see between themselves and the donation recipient,” the authors explain.

“For example, we also examined donations to victims of terrorist attacks. We found that women saw overlap between themselves and victims of terrorism in both London and Iraq. Men only saw overlap between themselves and London terrorist victims.”

Organizations and donors would benefit by understanding these donation patterns, the authors conclude.

Karen Page Winterich (Texas A&M University), Vikas Mittal (Rice University), and William T. Ross, Jr. (Pennsylvania State University) published their research in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Source: University of Chicago Press Journals

Your Gender May Affect Generosity

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Your Gender May Affect Generosity. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 17, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2009/02/24/your-gender-may-affect-generosity/4302.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.