Social Indicators Research

, Volume 110, Issue 1, pp 71–87 | Cite as

Daily Spiritual Experiences and Prosocial Behavior

  • Christopher J. Einolf


This paper examines how the Daily Spiritual Experiences Scale (DSES) relates to range of prosocial behaviors, using a large, nationally representative U.S. data set. It finds that daily spiritual experiences are a statistically and substantively significant predictor of volunteering, charitable giving, and helping individuals one knows personally. Daily spiritual experiences better predict helping to distant others than to friends and family, indicating that they may motivate helping by fostering an extensive definition of one’s moral community. The relationship between the DSES and helping is not moderated by sympathy and is robust to the inclusion of most religiosity measures. However, the relationship becomes non-significant for most helping behaviors when measures of meditation, prayer, and mindfulness are included in a regression equation. The DSES is particularly effective in predicting helping behaviors among people who do not belong to a religious congregation, indicating that it may measure spiritual motivations for helping among people who are not conventionally religious.


Daily spiritual experiences Prosocial behavior Volunteering Charitable giving Internal religiosity 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.DePaul University School of Public ServiceChicagoUSA

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