The Role of Fear of Crime in Donating and Volunteering: A Gendered Analysis

Document Type


Department or Administrative Unit

Law and Justice

Publication Date



Extensive empirical studies have established that women fear crime more than men and theoretical arguments have suggested this difference produces consequences ranging from increased medical and psychological problems to restricted movement and limited exposure to social networks and opportunities resulting in restrictive informal social control and reduced social capital. More recently, a number of studies have begun to test the theoretical link between fear and behavior, with some suggesting fear will restrict prosocial behavior and others suggesting fear will motivate behavior that improves personal and communal well-being. This study adds to this emerging literature by exploring how fear of crime affects two measures of philanthropic behavior—donating and volunteerism. Using a stratified random telephone survey of 2,361 individuals living in the 20 counties that compose the greater Metro Atlanta area, the authors explore the role of fear of crime as an independent variable in models of donating and volunteering time to a charitable organization. Additionally, interaction terms are included in models of volunteering to control for the possibility that the strength of the relationship may vary based on sex. The results indicate that fear of crime is an important predictor of volunteering, but not donating, and that the effects are stronger for women than men.


This article was originally published in Criminal Justice Review. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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Criminal Justice Review


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