242946 Sustainability through strengthened social networks: The role of perceived norms in Belize

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Laurel D. Stevenson, PhD, MPH , Department of Applied Health Science, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Susan E. Middlestadt, PhD , Department of Applied Health Science, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Kieran C. Dolin , Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI
Omar L. Rodriguez , The Cornerstone Foundation, San Ignacio, Belize
Background: Understanding why individuals donate to local community humanitarian projects is important for project sustainability and development efforts. The Cornerstone Foundation of Belize established Caring for Children (CFC) to assist children affected by HIV/AIDS in Belize. CFC relies on donations of food, clothing, and other supplies from the local community. The purpose of this quantitative, theory-based inquiry was to identify psychosocial factors associated with individuals' intention to donate to CFC. Methods: This study included 315 adults from the Cayo District, Belize recruited through community-posted flyers. Individuals participated in one-on-one closed-ended surveys based on the Reasoned Action Approach. We used multiple regression analysis to predict intention to donate to CFC from the three global constructs. Results: Multiple regression analysis showed that perceived norms, or the perceived social pressure surrounding donating, was the largest predictor of intention to donate (β=.41, p<0.01). Participants cited the government and churches as the two most important groups from which they perceived social pressure to donate. Conclusion: Results suggest that individuals' intention to donate is under the control of perceived norms, or perceived social pressure from specific groups and individuals. Therefore, similar community-based organizations may follow this model in which they partner with government (or social services) and church groups and involve them in activities in order to 1) increase awareness of programs, 2) strengthen social networks, and 3) establish communication channels to promote other community-building activities. These partnerships may increase local social capital and strengthen social cohesion and community commitment to CFC and similar programs.

Learning Areas:
Program planning
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss how factors influencing individuals’ intentions to donate to CFC can shape program design and interventions to increase community donations and commitment to programs.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was responsible for reserach design, data collection, analysis, and dissemination.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.