Why do first and second-generation young migrants volunteer? The migrant volunteerism motivation model (MVMM)

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The following study aims at inquiring into the motivations behind young migrants’ volunteerism in civic organizations in Italy, namely in starting and maintaining their engagement (preliminary vs. maintenance phase). The term “young migrants” refers to first and second generation of migrants who deal with two challenges: the transition to adulthood and the acquisition of a cultural identity. We conducted semi-structured interviews with 37 Sub-Saharan young migrants living in Italy (18-32 years old), 19 of first generation (1G) and 18 of second generation (2G). The Omoto and Snyder’s Volunteer Process Model (VPM, 1995) was used as an underpinning theoretical framework and a guide for the interpretations of the results. The findings indicate that a) motivations included in the VPM are also found for young migrants, b) some of these motivations take particular meaning for young migrants, c) some motivations are not included in the VPM and are specific of this sample. We named these last motivations: social norms, advocacy and ethno-cultural. In addition, some considerations may be advanced regarding the generation and the phase of motivation: 1G migrants are particularly moved by the importance of integration in the Italian context and by the promotion of their ethnic group while 2G migrants reported mostly the desire to understand their roots. The values, the concern for the community and the longing to develop relationships are the motivations for which all young migrants continue to volunteer; however, 1G migrants are also sustained by advocacy and ethno-cultural motivations. Implications and future directions are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1089-1107
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Social and Political Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Generation
  • Motivations
  • Volunteer process model
  • Volunteerism
  • Young migrants


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