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A Large Scale Test of the Effect of Social Class on Prosocial Behavior.

Korndörfer M, Egloff B, Schmukle SC - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: However, research outside the field of psychology has mainly found evidence for positive or u-shaped relations.Moreover, we analyzed whether this effect was moderated by the kind of observed prosocial behavior, the observed country, and the measure of social class.Across eight studies with large and representative international samples, we predominantly found positive effects of social class on prosociality: Higher class individuals were more likely to make a charitable donation and contribute a higher percentage of their family income to charity (32,090 ≥ N ≥ 3,957; Studies 1-3), were more likely to volunteer (37,136 ≥N ≥ 3,964; Studies 4-6), were more helpful (N = 3,902; Study 7), and were more trusting and trustworthy in an economic game when interacting with a stranger (N = 1,421; Study 8) than lower social class individuals.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.

ABSTRACT
Does being from a higher social class lead a person to engage in more or less prosocial behavior? Psychological research has recently provided support for a negative effect of social class on prosocial behavior. However, research outside the field of psychology has mainly found evidence for positive or u-shaped relations. In the present research, we therefore thoroughly examined the effect of social class on prosocial behavior. Moreover, we analyzed whether this effect was moderated by the kind of observed prosocial behavior, the observed country, and the measure of social class. Across eight studies with large and representative international samples, we predominantly found positive effects of social class on prosociality: Higher class individuals were more likely to make a charitable donation and contribute a higher percentage of their family income to charity (32,090 ≥ N ≥ 3,957; Studies 1-3), were more likely to volunteer (37,136 ≥N ≥ 3,964; Studies 4-6), were more helpful (N = 3,902; Study 7), and were more trusting and trustworthy in an economic game when interacting with a stranger (N = 1,421; Study 8) than lower social class individuals. Although the effects of social class varied somewhat across the kinds of prosocial behavior, countries, and measures of social class, under no condition did we find the negative effect that would have been expected on the basis of previous results reported in the psychological literature. Possible explanations for this divergence and implications are discussed.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

The positive effect of social class on the frequency of donating in the American General Social Survey (Study 3).Panels A–D illustrate the frequency of donating based on six categories (0 = not at all in the past year, 5 = more than once a week). Panel A shows the frequency of donating per decile of objective social class. Panel B uses local least squares fitting (LOESS curve) to adjust a curve to the raw data and illustrates the frequency of donating by standardized objective social class (N = 3,975 persons). Panel C (N = 3,957 persons) shows the frequency of donating per category of subjective social class. Panel D illustrates the predicted values for the frequency of donating determined via OLS regression. It distinguishes between a curve for subjective social class and a curve for objective social class.
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pone.0133193.g004: The positive effect of social class on the frequency of donating in the American General Social Survey (Study 3).Panels A–D illustrate the frequency of donating based on six categories (0 = not at all in the past year, 5 = more than once a week). Panel A shows the frequency of donating per decile of objective social class. Panel B uses local least squares fitting (LOESS curve) to adjust a curve to the raw data and illustrates the frequency of donating by standardized objective social class (N = 3,975 persons). Panel C (N = 3,957 persons) shows the frequency of donating per category of subjective social class. Panel D illustrates the predicted values for the frequency of donating determined via OLS regression. It distinguishes between a curve for subjective social class and a curve for objective social class.

Mentions: In terms of the frequency of donating, Fig 4A and 4B indicate a positive effect of objective social class. This observation was confirmed by ordered probit and OLS regression models that showed a positive nonlinear effect of social class (Table 3, Model 1, columns 2 and 3; see the solid line in Fig 4D for the plotted predicted values from the OLS regression). The same effect was also observed in an analysis without the covariates age and sex (ordered probit model: objective social class: b = .379, z = 21.76, p < .001; objective social class2: b = -.054, z = -3.81, p < .001; OLS regression model: objective social class: b = .446, t = 22.44, p < .001; objective social class2: b = -.048, t = -2.93, p < .01). According to Fig 4C, an elevated subjective social class also seemed to increase the frequency of donating. Again, a positive nonlinear effect was found to be significant both with the covariates age and sex (Table 3, Model 2, columns 2 and 3; see the dashed line in Fig 4D for the plotted predicted values from the OLS regression) and without the covariates in the ordered probit model (subjective social class: b = .254, z = 14.64, p < .001; subjective social class2: b = -.033, z = -2.44, p < .05; OLS regression model: subjective social class: b = .309, t = 14.70, p < .001; subjective social class2: b = -.030, t = -1.87, p = .06).


A Large Scale Test of the Effect of Social Class on Prosocial Behavior.

Korndörfer M, Egloff B, Schmukle SC - PLoS ONE (2015)

The positive effect of social class on the frequency of donating in the American General Social Survey (Study 3).Panels A–D illustrate the frequency of donating based on six categories (0 = not at all in the past year, 5 = more than once a week). Panel A shows the frequency of donating per decile of objective social class. Panel B uses local least squares fitting (LOESS curve) to adjust a curve to the raw data and illustrates the frequency of donating by standardized objective social class (N = 3,975 persons). Panel C (N = 3,957 persons) shows the frequency of donating per category of subjective social class. Panel D illustrates the predicted values for the frequency of donating determined via OLS regression. It distinguishes between a curve for subjective social class and a curve for objective social class.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4507988&req=5

pone.0133193.g004: The positive effect of social class on the frequency of donating in the American General Social Survey (Study 3).Panels A–D illustrate the frequency of donating based on six categories (0 = not at all in the past year, 5 = more than once a week). Panel A shows the frequency of donating per decile of objective social class. Panel B uses local least squares fitting (LOESS curve) to adjust a curve to the raw data and illustrates the frequency of donating by standardized objective social class (N = 3,975 persons). Panel C (N = 3,957 persons) shows the frequency of donating per category of subjective social class. Panel D illustrates the predicted values for the frequency of donating determined via OLS regression. It distinguishes between a curve for subjective social class and a curve for objective social class.
Mentions: In terms of the frequency of donating, Fig 4A and 4B indicate a positive effect of objective social class. This observation was confirmed by ordered probit and OLS regression models that showed a positive nonlinear effect of social class (Table 3, Model 1, columns 2 and 3; see the solid line in Fig 4D for the plotted predicted values from the OLS regression). The same effect was also observed in an analysis without the covariates age and sex (ordered probit model: objective social class: b = .379, z = 21.76, p < .001; objective social class2: b = -.054, z = -3.81, p < .001; OLS regression model: objective social class: b = .446, t = 22.44, p < .001; objective social class2: b = -.048, t = -2.93, p < .01). According to Fig 4C, an elevated subjective social class also seemed to increase the frequency of donating. Again, a positive nonlinear effect was found to be significant both with the covariates age and sex (Table 3, Model 2, columns 2 and 3; see the dashed line in Fig 4D for the plotted predicted values from the OLS regression) and without the covariates in the ordered probit model (subjective social class: b = .254, z = 14.64, p < .001; subjective social class2: b = -.033, z = -2.44, p < .05; OLS regression model: subjective social class: b = .309, t = 14.70, p < .001; subjective social class2: b = -.030, t = -1.87, p = .06).

Bottom Line: However, research outside the field of psychology has mainly found evidence for positive or u-shaped relations.Moreover, we analyzed whether this effect was moderated by the kind of observed prosocial behavior, the observed country, and the measure of social class.Across eight studies with large and representative international samples, we predominantly found positive effects of social class on prosociality: Higher class individuals were more likely to make a charitable donation and contribute a higher percentage of their family income to charity (32,090 ≥ N ≥ 3,957; Studies 1-3), were more likely to volunteer (37,136 ≥N ≥ 3,964; Studies 4-6), were more helpful (N = 3,902; Study 7), and were more trusting and trustworthy in an economic game when interacting with a stranger (N = 1,421; Study 8) than lower social class individuals.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.

ABSTRACT
Does being from a higher social class lead a person to engage in more or less prosocial behavior? Psychological research has recently provided support for a negative effect of social class on prosocial behavior. However, research outside the field of psychology has mainly found evidence for positive or u-shaped relations. In the present research, we therefore thoroughly examined the effect of social class on prosocial behavior. Moreover, we analyzed whether this effect was moderated by the kind of observed prosocial behavior, the observed country, and the measure of social class. Across eight studies with large and representative international samples, we predominantly found positive effects of social class on prosociality: Higher class individuals were more likely to make a charitable donation and contribute a higher percentage of their family income to charity (32,090 ≥ N ≥ 3,957; Studies 1-3), were more likely to volunteer (37,136 ≥N ≥ 3,964; Studies 4-6), were more helpful (N = 3,902; Study 7), and were more trusting and trustworthy in an economic game when interacting with a stranger (N = 1,421; Study 8) than lower social class individuals. Although the effects of social class varied somewhat across the kinds of prosocial behavior, countries, and measures of social class, under no condition did we find the negative effect that would have been expected on the basis of previous results reported in the psychological literature. Possible explanations for this divergence and implications are discussed.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus