Factors that influence the continuation and discontinuation of adult volunteer leaders in the Iowa 4-H program

Thorbs, Brenda
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The purpose of this study was to examine rewards that influence the continuation or discontinuation of adult volunteer leaders with the Iowa 4-H program. Specifically, this study addressed the following questions: (1) Are there rewards which help predict who will continue as a 4-H volunteer? (2) Is there a relationship between selected demographic variables and continuation of volunteers in 4-H? (3) Are there any differences in perception toward rewards by continuing and discontinuing volunteers?;The social exchange theory was used as a theoretical framework;Data were obtained from 4-H adult volunteer leaders who participated in the program between October 1980-October 1983. Respondents were categorized as continuing (n = 150) still participating in the 4-H program, and discontinued (n = 150) have since stopped participating in the 4-H program. Discriminant analysis and the students t-test were used to analyze the data;Of the four reward factors expected to be important in predicting whether or not volunteers continue in the program, social approval was most important. Job satisfaction was similar (p (LESSTHEQ) .05) to the other reward factors as a predictor of the volunteers continuation. Unlike age, education and sex were not (p (LESSTHEQ) .05) related to the volunteer's decision to continue in the program. The perceptions on the amount of influence in 4-H, social approval, job satisfaction, and career development, indicated no differences (p (LESSTHEQ) .05) between continuing and discontinuing volunteers;The results indicate that none of the rewards was a major contributing factor to the volunteer's decision to continue or discontinue in the 4-H program. Though social approval had relatively a greater influence on the volunteer's decision to remain in 4-H, the results do not support the basic assumption of social exchange theories, which hypothesize that people enter into relationships because of the rewards which can accrue from it.