ABSTRACT In light of collective action and community development research, this study aims at testing a model of activist persistence that takes into account both individual and organizational levels. The proposed model predicted that commitment to a group/organization or its cause does affect an activists’ persistence. This relationship is mediated by two variables, namely the individual-organization interface and stress management processes. The model was empirically tested through a path analysis on a sample of 278 (N = 278; 43.9% female) participants recruited among active members in a variety of community groups/organizations. The results supported the pattern described by the model, showing that commitment is a precursor to activists’ persistence. However its direct impact is weaker than the impact exerted by stress levels and the fit between the individual and the group/organization. Applications for community development practice are discussed.
Cite this paper
nullMannarini, T. & Talo, C. (2011). When Commitment Is Not Enough: How Stress and Individual-Organization Interface Affect Activists’ Persistence. Psychology, 2, 450-455. doi: 10.4236/psych.2011.25070.
  Allen, N. J., & Meyer, J. P. (1990). The measurement and antecedents of affective, continuance and normative commitment to the organization. The Journal of Occupational Psychology, 63, 1-18.
 Amirkhan, J. H. (1990). A factor analytically derived measure of coping: The coping strategy indicator. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 5, 1066-1074. doi:10.1037/0022-35220.127.116.116
 Benson, M., & Rochon, T. (2004). Interpersonal trust and the magnitude of protest. A micro and macro level approach. Comparative Political Studies, 4, 435-457. doi:10.1177/0010414003262900
 Buchanan, B. (1974). Building organizational commitment: The socialization of managers in work organizations. Administrative Science Quarterly, 19, 533-546. doi:10.2307/2391809
 Cobb, S. (1976). Social support as a moderator of life stress. Psychosomatic Medicine, 38, 300-310.
 Cohen, S., & Wills, T. A. (1985). Stress, social support, and the buffering hypothesis. Psychological Bulletin, 98, 310-357.
 Corrigall-Brown, C. (2007). After the protest: Trajectories of participation in social movements. Ph.D. Thesis, Irvine: University of California.
 Cox, L. (2009). “Hearts with one purpose alone”? Thinking personal sustainability in social movements. Emotion, Space and Society, 2, 52-61.
 Diani, M. (2005). Networks and participation. In D. A. Snow, S. A. Soule and H. Kriesi (Eds.), The blackwell companion to social movements (pp. 339-359). Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.
 Downton, J., & Wehr, P. (1991). Peace movements: The role of commitment and community in sustaining member participation. In M. Spencer (Ed.), Research in social movements, conflicts, and change (pp. 113-134). Greenwich: JAI Press.
 Downton, J. & Wehr, P. (1998). Persistent pacifism: How activist commitment is developed and sustained. Journal of Peace Research, 35, 531-550. doi:10.1177/0022343398035005001
 Endler N. S., & Parker J. D. A. (1994). Assessment of multidimensional coping: task, emotion and avoidance strategies. Psychological Assessment, 6, 50-60. doi:10.1037/1040-3518.104.22.168
 Gamson, W. (1992). The Social Psychology of Collective Action. In A. D. Morris and C. Mueller (Eds.), Frontiers in social movement theory (pp. 53-76). New Haven: Yale University Press.
 Greenglass, E. R. (1993). The contribution of social support to coping strategies. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 42, 323- 340. doi:10.1111/j.1464-0597.1993.tb00748.x
 Greenglass, E. R. (2002). Proactive coping. In E. Frydenberg (Ed.), Beyond coping: Meeting goals, vision, and challenges (pp. 37-62). London: Oxford University Press.
 Johnston, H., Larana, E., & Gusfield, J. R. (1994). Identities, grievances, and new social movements. In E. Larana, H. Johnston and J. R. Gusfield (Eds.), New social movements: From ideology to identity (pp. 3- 35). Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
 Kagan, C. (2006). Making a difference: Participation and well-being. Liverpool: New Start Publishing.
 Kagan, C. (2007). Pillars of support for well-being in the community: The role of the public sector. Manchester, Wellbeing and Sustainable Living Seminar, Manchester Metropolitan University, 24th May.
 Kagan, C., Castile, S., & Stewart, A. (2005). Participation: Are some more equal than others? Clinical Psychology, 153, 30-34.
 Klandermans, B. (1997). The social psychology of protest. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.
 Klapp, O. E. (1969). Collective search for identity. New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart.
 Lazarus, R. S., & Folkman, S. (1984). Stress, appraisal and coping. New York, NY: Springer.
 Levenstein, S., Prantera, C., Varvo, V. et al. (1993). Development of the perceived stress questionnaire: A new tool for psychosomatic research. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 37, 19-32.
 Mannarini, T. & Fedi, A. (under review). Persisting or withdrawing? An insight into the psychosocial processes underlying sustained engagement. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology.
 Mannarini, T., Roccato, M., Fedi, A., & Rovere, A. (2009). Six factors fostering political protest: Predicting participation in locally unwanted land uses movements. Political Psychology, 30, 895-917.
 McAdam, D. (1988). Freedom summer. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
 Meyer, J. P., & Allen, N. J. (1991). A three-component conceptualization of organizational commitment. Human Resources Management Review, 1, 61-89. doi:10.1016/1053-4822(91)90011-Z
 Moos, R. H., & Billings, A. G. (1982). Conceptualizing and measuring coping resources and processes. In L. Goldberger and S. Breznitz (Eds.), Handbook of stress: Theoretical and clinical aspects (pp. 212-230). New York, NY: Free Press.
 Nepstad, S. E. (2004). Persistent resistance: Commitment and community in the plowshares movement. Social Problems, 51, 43-60.
 Owens, T. J., & Aronson, P. J. (2000). Self-Concept as a force in social movement involvement. In S. Stryker, T. J. Owens and R. W. White (Eds.), Self, identity, and social movements (pp. 191-214). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
 Robbins, S. P., & Judge, T. A. (2007). Organizational behavior (12th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.
 Snow, D. A., Zurcher, L. A., & Ekland-Olson, S. (1980). Social net- works and social movements: A microstructural approach to differ- rential recruitment. American Sociological Review, 45, 787-801.
 Wiener, Y. (1982). Commitment in organizations: A normative view. Academy of Management Review, 7, 418-428.
 Zimet, G. D., Dahlem, N. W., Zimet, S. G., & Farley, G. K. (1988). The multidimensional scale of perceived social support. Journal of Personality Assessment, 52, 30-41. doi:10.1207/s15327752jpa5201_2