Affiliations and Self-Identity

Next we consider each of these affiliations in relation to levels of generous self-identity. What is interesting to investigate here is whether and to what extent personal identity as generous aligns with each affiliation’s supportiveness for giving. We illustrate Americans’ levels of GSID in tandem with each affiliation’s support for giving in Figures 5.7 and 5.8.

GSID and parental influence (upper left), GSID and spousal alignment (upper right), GSID and friends support (bottom left), GSID and religious calls (bottom right)

figure 5.7 GSID and parental influence (upper left), GSID and spousal alignment (upper right), GSID and friends support (bottom left), GSID and religious calls (bottom right).

GSID and local community giving (left), GSID and national giving (right)

figure 5.8 GSID and local community giving (left), GSID and national giving (right).

Parental Influence and GSID

How does parental influence to give cross-reference with a personal generous identity? To answer this question we combine teaching and modeling into one measure of parental influence to give. In the upper-left graph of Figure 5.7 we visualize a comparison between parental influence to give and a generosity self-identity. We see in the far-right bar that:

  • • The largest grouping of Americans (35 percent) has a high GSID coupled with high parental influence to give (top).
  • • Twenty percent of Americans have a high GSID and moderate parental influence (middle).
  • • Eleven percent of Americans have a high GSID with no parental influence (bottom).

Based on our data we think that Americans at the top essentially had the wheels for giving greased by their parental affiliation and may be more likely to actualize their generous identity as a result, whereas those at the bottom did not have their wheels greased. The gray areas at the top of the middle and far-left bars show an opposite scenario: some people’s parental affiliations create friction against their lower generous identity, insofar as their parents promoted a generous life but the current GSID of the child (now an adult) is neutral or low. We think that these Americans may be more likely to give despite their lower personal identity as a result of their parents’ influence and their childhood experiences.

In testing the affiliation associations in regression models net of controls;14 we found that:

  • • Americans with a high GSID coupled with high parental influence are more likely to give than those with a high GSID but moderate or no parental influence.15
  • • Americans with a high GSID coupled with moderate or no parental influence to give are less likely to give than those with a neutral or no GSID with high parental influence.
  • • Americans who are neutral on having a generous self-identity and have low parental influence are less likely to give than those who disagree on GSID.

In other words, it appears that the people least likely to give are those who are ambivalent about having a generous self-identity and who have low parental influence. That combination is even less likely to relate to giving than disagreement on having a GSID. When we analyze the donation amount, we again find that Americans who have a high generous self-identity and had no generous parental influence give less money, on average and net of controls, than those who had moderate levels of parental influence. We find that those with high parental influence give more even if their GSID is in friction with their parents’ giving orientation.

 
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