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Straight from the heart

Patients, Consumers and Civil Society

ISBN: 978-1-84855-214-2, eISBN: 978-1-84855-215-9

Publication date: 1 January 2008


Purpose – This study seeks to answer the question of whether donations to the Dutch Heart Association are a form of solidarity of the healthy with the sick. In doing so, I test hypotheses on the origins of charitable donations in awareness of need in conjunction with dispositional empathic concern, social networks and own health.

Methodology – I report probit, tobit and multinomial regression analyses on data from the Giving in the Netherlands Panel Survey (2002–2004; n=1,246) on donations to the Dutch Heart Association and other health charities.

Findings – I find that experience with cardiovascular diseases is associated with a higher likelihood of donating to the Dutch Heart Association, especially among those with higher levels of empathic concern and social responsibility, and among those who are not in excellent health themselves. Support for the Dutch Heart Association comes from those who are aware of the need for contributions and more easily imagine themselves in a situation similar to those of heart patients.

Research limitations/implications – The results confirm the role of empathic concern, explore the role of own health and seem to reject the role of ties to family members. The study is limited to the Dutch Heart Association. Future research should test whether these results can be generalized to donations to other charitable causes.

Originality/value of chapter – This study contributes to our knowledge on charitable donations, revealing new insights on the influence of awareness of need.


Bekkers, R. (2008), "Straight from the heart", Chambré, S.M. and Goldner, M. (Ed.) Patients, Consumers and Civil Society (Advances in Medical Sociology, Vol. 10), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 197-221.



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