The Influence of Christian Religious Affiliation, Gender and Locality on Altruism.
This study investigated the- influence of Christian religious affiliation, gender and locality on altruism. Three hundred and twenty-one staff (Christians) from the randomly selected local government secretariats of Anambra State, Nigeria, voluntarily participated in the study.
Three hypotheses were postulated and tested. The instrument for data collection was the self-report altruism scale adapted from Rushton, Chris-John and Fekken (1981), where Cronbach reliability alpha of 0.72 was obtained after the analysis of pilot study.
Data analysis using 3-way ANOVA (Ftest) indicated no significant influence of Christian religious affiliation on altruism, but there was significant influence of gender and locality on altruism, F (321=14.72, P <001; F,321=28.55, P<001). The findings revealed that while females were more altruistic than males, rural dwellers were more altruistic than their urban counterparts.
The result also indicated no significant interaction of Christian religious affiliation, gender, and locality on altruism. Results were discussed and the implications of the findings as well as suggestions for future studies were presented.
Societal disorder and every kind of evil are likely to be seen in a modern society where the vast majority of people are. selfish. Society that is based solely on self-centred considerations cannot function. There must be some unselfish concern for others* need and welfare in form of altruism if there is to be any meaningful continuing collaboration of the type that makes for social coherence and continuity.
Although few individuals reach the heights of heroic altruism, virtually everyone helps somebody sometimes (Brehm, Kassin& Fein, 2005). The list of everyday acts of kindness is endless. People give their friends a ride on a bad-car day; work as a volunteer for charitable activities; pick up the mail for a neighbour who is out of town; donate money, food, and clothing for disaster relief; baby-sit for a relative; make selfsacrifice to aid others.
The above acts of kindness can only be altruism if the desire or motive of doing so is to increase another’s welfare without expecting personal reward (Batson, 2002). Different authors give various definitions to altruism. Bernstein, Penner, Clarke-Stewart and Roy (2006) defined altruism as an unselfish concern for another’s welfare. Similarly, some other definitions suggest that altruism is the unselfish concern of an individual for the welfare of another (Carlson, Martin &Buzkist, 2004).
Cardwell, Clark and Meldrum (2002) define altruism as a form of helping behavior in which a person will voluntarily help another at some cost to themselves. To Eisenberg and Mussen (1989), altruism is the motivation to help others out of pure regard for their needs rather than how the action will benefit oneself. Altruism is seen as being motivated by the desire to increase another’s welfare (Batson, 2002; Brehmet, al, 2005).
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