This article argues that unique psychosocial characteristics of adolescents are overlooked by the Volunteer Functions Inventory and suggests a modified inventory for adolescent volunteers. For this purpose, we studied adolescent volunteer motivations through a mixed-methods approach including focus groups and exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis. We found a unique composition of volunteer motivations, resulting in an adolescent volunteer motivations scale with five functions: protective, career, enhancement/understanding, values, plus an adolescence-specific function that involves individuation and group identity. The findings from this exploratory study emphasise the importance of context for the understanding of volunteer motivations, and call for further exploration of the uniqueness of adolescent volunteers, including the role of youth subcultures and group identity. Such an understanding has a bearing on the way volunteers should be recruited and retained, as well as how volunteer motivations should be measured.
- Psychosocial developmental theory
- Volunteer Functions Inventory
- Volunteer motivations