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Objective. We examine volunteering to support the relief effort after the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building. We address two issues: (1) how widespread was volunteering and what forms did it rake, and (2) does Wilson and Musick's (1997a) "integrated theory of volunteer work" help to explain variation in volunteering in this disaster situation? Methods. We use data from the 1996 Oklahoma City Survey (OKC Survey). The 1996 OKC Survey is based on a random sample of the adult population of Oklahoma City and was administered 10 months after the bombing. Results. Nearly 75 percent of the sample respondents volunteered to support the relief effort in at least one way; giving money and donating nonprofessional goods or services were the two most prevalent volunteer activities. Socioeconomic status, knowing someone killed or injured in the bombing, belonging to voluntary organizations before the bombing, and being affiliated with a religious denomination were predictors of volunteering, depending on the type of volunteer activity considered. Conclusions. The magnitude of volunteering after the Murrah Building bombing was in line with volunteer efforts after other disasters. The integrated theory of volunteer work is a useful framework for studying volunteering after disasters.
This article has two purposes. One is to examine volunteering in the relief effort following the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in April 1995. As we discuss below, volunteering in this relief effort was massive, took many forms, and appeared to be widespread. But just how prevalent was it? What did people do? Who volunteered? The second purpose is to apply Wilson and Musick's (1997a) "integrated theory of volunteer work" to volunteering in a disaster situation. Wilson and Musick tested their theory with volunteering for organizations, most (if not all) of which probably had nothing to do with disaster relief efforts, and with providing informal help in everyday situations. Does their theory also apply to volunteering after a disaster? In addition, the literature on participation in disaster relief efforts has little theoretical integration, focusing mostly on discovering its correlates. By applying Wilson and Musick's theory to participation in a disaster relief effort, we hope to add some theoretic al integration to this literature.
On Wednesday, April 19, 1995, a bomb exploded in front of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 and injuring 674 (City of Oklahoma City, 1996). The first rescuers were survivors from the Murrah Building and nearby buildings (U.S. News and World Report, 1995). Soon, personnel from fire stations, the police department, and hospitals arrived to conduct a search and rescue (The Daily Oklahoman, 1995a). Formal relief organizations quickly sprang into action to help coordinate people seeking to help. Over 6,000 volunteers joined the Red Cross by the end of April (The Daily Oklahoman, 1995b). Salvation Army volunteers came by the hundreds (The Daily Oklahoman, 1995c). The Red Cross issued a call for people to give blood; the response was overwhelming. People lined up for blocks to give blood and three days after the bombing prospective donors had to be turned away (The Daily Oklahoman, 1995d). In response to requests, people donated a massive quantity of supplies and services (City of Oklahoma City, 1996). This response was astounding. For example, a request for rain gear (it rained for several days following the bombing) and wheelbarrows (during the search and rescue it was impossible to use heavy equipment to remove the debris) resulted in a three-block line of cars bringing these items to the drop-off point. Professionals donated their services to victims and their families for medical treatment, psychological counseling, and financial planning. By the one-year anniversary of the bombing, individuals and businesses had .donated $36 million in relief funds (The Daily Oklahoman, 1996).
Wilson and Musick's Integrated Theory of Volunteer Work
Wilson and Musick's (1997a) "integrated theory of volunteer work" posits that individual differences in volunteering result from differences in human, social, and cultural capital. Volunteer work is like other work in that it is a productive activity and qualifications are required for it. Human capital consists of the resources that enable individuals to engage in productive activities. According to Wilson and Musick (1997a:698), human capital "qualifies a person for volunteer work and makes that person more attractive to agencies seeking volunteer labor." Socioeconomic status variables are obvious indicators of human capital. Socioeconomic status is positively related to volunteering (Hayghe, 1991; Hodgkinson et al., 1994; Janoski, Musick, and Wilson, 1998; Smith, 1994; Wilson and Musick, 1997a, 1997b; Wilson and Musick, 1998), to membership in voluntary associations (Curtis, Grabb, and Baer, 1992; Janoski and Wilson, 1995; Wilson, 1990), and to making charitable contributions (Hodgkinson et al., 1994). In addition to high status people having resources that make them attractive volunteers (Wilson and Musick, 1997a), they also tend to have jobs that encourage volunteering (Wilson and Musick, 1997b) and they are involved in social situations where they develop the social skills needed for volunteering (Janoski, Musick, and Wilson, 1998).
Wilson and Musick (1997a) argue that volunteer work involves collective action. Social networks are a form of social capital and are the resources for collective action. They "supply information, foster trust, make contacts, provide support, set guidelines, and create obligations" (Wilson and Musick, 1997a:695), increasing the likelihood of volunteering. Social capital variables include measures of social interaction. The size and strength of social networks are positively related to volunteering (Janoski, Musick, and Wilson, 1998; Smith, 1994; Wilson and Musick, 1997a, 1998) and membership in voluntary organizations (McPherson, Popielarz, and Drobnic, 1992). Being connected to a large circle of friends increases the chance that people will learn of volunteer opportunities and be asked to volunteer (Hodgkinson et al., 1994; Janoski, Musick, and Wilson, 1998; Wilson and Musick, 1998). Membership in voluntary organizations contributes to volunteering by providing situations that encourage individuals to volunte er (Greeley, 1997; Hodgkinson et al., 1994).
Volunteer work usually involves the giving of time and resources to others for altruistic reasons (Wilson and Musick, 1997a). A foundation for altruistic behavior is the belief that it is important to give of oneself to others or to a cause; such beliefs are a form of cultural capital. Because organized religion actively promotes benevolence, variables measuring religious involvement are indicators of cultural capital (Wilson and Musick, 1997a). The relationship between religion and volunteering is complex. People who attend church do more secular volunteering (Greeley, 1997; Hodgkinson et al., 1994; Wilson and Janoski, 1995; Wilson and Musick, 1997a) and they make more contributions to secular causes (Hodgkinson et al., 1994). However, there doesn't appear to be a relationship between religiosity and volunteering (Wilson and Musick, 1997a). Nonfundamentalist Protestants and Catholics, denominations that emphasize this-worldly concerns, are more likely to volunteer to solve community problems (Batson, Schoenr ade, and Ventris, 1993; Wilson and Janoski, 1995).
Human, social, and cultural capital are interconnected (Wilson and Musick, 1997a). People with high-status jobs know more people active in volunteer organizations (Pearce, 1993), are in social networks where they are likely to be asked to volunteer (Janoski, Musick, and Wilson, 1998), and are more likely to believe volunteering is important (Wilson and Musick, 1997b). Religion is related to volunteering not just because it sustains the belief that volunteering is worthy, but because churches provide social networks through which people are linked to volunteer opportunities (Greeley, 1997; …