- Charitable organisations, which support research on serious diseases such as cancer, heart diseases or rheumatism, are to a considerable extent dependent on bequests. Because in the Netherlands, in the next decade, the number of deaths per year is expected to increase at a faster rate than the population growth, it is likely that in the future bequests, there will be an even larger source of income. This paper examines the psychological motives that determine the propensity to include a health-related charitable organisation in the will. Qualitative research by Schervish and Havens (2003) suggested that empathy for the suffering of others is the most important explanatory variable for leaving a bequest to charity. This result is examined and confirmed in a quantitative study by estimating a structural model that shows how other explanatory variables are mediated by empathy. Empathy is positively influenced by appeal of the charitable organisation, lack of family need, altruism and gratitude. Independent from empathy, generativity and personal experience with disease contribute to donations by bequests.
Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.