Religion, Inclusive Individualism, and Volunteering in Europe

Ingrid Storm

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A well supported finding in social science is that religiosity is associated with pro-social behaviours such as volunteering, but the religious decline in Europe characterising the latter part of the twentieth century has not been accompanied by decline in voluntary participation. This period is also associated with a sharp increase in the moral emphasis on individual autonomy and inclusiveness over social norms and traditions. In this analysis of the European Values Study (2008–2010), I examine the relationship between religion and volunteering, taking both individual values and aggregate norms into account. Religious attendance is found to be associated with volunteering at the individual level. However, the average citizen’s likelihood of volunteering is lower in more religious countries. This could be due in part to secular countries’ high levels of inclusive individualism (autonomy values and generalised trust) which are positively associated with volunteering among both religious and non-religious respondents.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-229
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Contemporary Religion
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2015


  • Religion
  • Volunteering
  • Trust
  • Moral values
  • European Values Study

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Cathie Marsh Institute


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