Emily Morse

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Crystal Hoyt


This paper examines the relationship between implicit theories of intelligence and social dominance orientation (SDO) in the context of volunteering. While there is still little research on the subject, it has been shown that un- and undertrained volunteers often do more harm than good in the community. Community-based learning courses that send students out into vulnerable communities are common at most colleges and universities today; so examining the reasons why students volunteer as well as how effective they believe volunteering to be is important in order to help them avoid causing harm to vulnerable populations. Survey data from 261 college students was analyzed, and implicit theories of intelligence were found to have an indirect effect on both volunteer efficacy and motivation through SDO. These findings are significant because mindsets can be manipulated, suggesting that increasing a growth mindset of intelligence will decrease SDO and increase a sense of volunteer efficacy and volunteering for values.