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Caring and Doing for Others

Social Responsibility in the Domains of Family, Work, and Community

From all sides we hear that Americans are becoming increasingly self-absorbed and disconnected, and that our interest in social and civic responsibility is on the decline. A more encouraging profile emerges in this study of Americans at work, at home with their families, and in their communities. The book is based on a national, representative survey of more than 3,000 Americans aged 25 to 74—plus in-depth interviews with adults drawn from the survey—to find out what Americans mean by social responsibility.

The book explores the extent to which adults contribute time to caregiving, social support, and financial assistance to family members; the time given to volunteer work and financial contributions to various causes, charities, and organizations; and how these contributions are affected by job obligations. A major focus is on age and gender differences, which shows midlife to be a transitional time when civic activities increase as family obligations decline. All told, the study adds a hopeful new voice to the overwhelmingly negative debate about the current state of our civic and social lives.

Table of Contents

I. Introduction
1. Contemporary Dialogue on Civil Society and Social Responsibility
Alice S. Rossi
II. Life Course and Social and Structural Variation in Social Responsibility
2. Judgments of One’s Own Global Contributions to the Welfare of Others: Life-Course Trajectories and Predictors
William Fleeson
3. Domains and Dimensions of Social Responsibility: A Sociodemographic Profile
Alice S. Rossi
4. Temporal Patterns in Social Responsibility
David M. Almeida, Donald A. McDonald, John J. Havens, and Paul G. Schervish
5. Local Caring: Social Capital and Social Responsibility in New York=s Minority Neighborhoods
Katherine S. Newman
6. Cultural and Contextual Correlates of Obligation to Family and Community among Urban Black and Latino Adults
Diane Hughes
III. Social Responsibility and Human Development
7. Developmental Roots of Adult Social Responsibility
Alice S. Rossi
8. The Impact of Family Problems on Social Responsibility
Alice S. Rossi
9. Themes and Variations in American Understandings of Responsibility
Hazel Rose Markus, Carol D. Ryff, Alana Conner, Eden K. Pudberry, and Katherine L. Barnett
IV. Social Responsibility and Work
10. The Association between Chronic Medical Conditions and Work Impairment
Ronald C. Kessler, Kristin D. Mickelson, Catherine Barber, and Philip Wang
11. The Interplay of Work and Family and Its Impact on Community Service
Alice S. Rossi
12. Social Responsibility and Paid Work in Contemporary American Life
Anne Colby, Lorrie Sippola, and Erin Phelps
V. Summary
13. Analysis Highlights and Overall Assessment
Alice S. Rossi
Appendix: Methodology of the National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States
List of Contributors
Author Index
Subject Index

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