The Caring Motivation: An Integrated Theory
Caring is all around us and is manifested in diverse settings such as parenting, friendships, volunteering, altruism, mentoring, teaching, pet adoption, and gardening. The study of caring, the giving end of our relations, has been dispersed among a large variety of research paradigms (e.g., evolution, brain research, attachment theory, feminism, altruism, volunteering, parenting, social support, prosocial development, organizational citizenship behavior and sustainability) and this has impeded our understanding of caring.
The Caring Motivation is a pioneering attempt to bring the diverse research on caring together and to examine caring as a motivation from a broad perspective that relies on these very diverse literatures. Author Ofra Mayseless underscores that we as a species have an innate, biologically driven and evolutionarily chosen, yet contextually sensitive, general motivation to care, tend, empower, and nurture. Several intriguing insights emerge, and a conceptual model of caring as a fundamental and encompassing human motivation is presented. This is the first time that such a model is discussed in detail and its presentation helps us understand core common processes of caring across diverse targets as well as unique adaptations. The model presents for the first time a comprehensive view on how caring is psychologically activated and sustained and underscores the importance of life meaning and purpose in its enactment. The book also introduces a preliminary and innovative model of the universal developmental course of the caring motivational system from infancy to adulthood. This novel and pioneering view opens up exciting new arenas for research and for applications in psychotherapy, education, human growth, spirituality and religions, leadership and organizational behavior, and human sciences in general and highlights the pivotal place of care in our lives.