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Volunteering and depression: the role of psychological and social resources in different age groups

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  • Musick, Marc A.
  • Wilson, John
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    Abstract

    There are a number of reasons why volunteering might yield mental health benefits, especially to older people. Volunteer work improves access to social and psychological resources, which are known to counter negative moods such as depression and anxiety. Analysis of three waves of data from the Americans' Changing Lives data set (1986, 1989, 1994) reveals that volunteering does lower depression levels for those over 65, while prolonged exposure to volunteering benefits both populations. Some of the effect of volunteering on depression among the elderly is attributable to the social integration it encourages, but the mediating effect of psychological resources is very small. Volunteering for religious causes is more beneficial for mental health than volunteering for secular causes but, again, the effect is confined to the elderly.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

    Volume (Year): 56 (2003)
    Issue (Month): 2 (January)
    Pages: 259-269

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:56:y:2003:i:2:p:259-269

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    Related research

    Keywords: USA Volunteering Aging Depression Elderly Mental health;

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    Cited by:
    1. Fiorillo, Damiano & Nappo, Nunzia, 2014. "Formal and informal volunteering and health across European countries," MPRA Paper 54130, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Aoki, Yu, 2014. "Donating Time to Charity: Not Working for Nothing," IZA Discussion Papers 7990, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Anke Plagnol & Felicia Huppert, 2010. "Happy to Help? Exploring the Factors Associated with Variations in Rates of Volunteering Across Europe," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 97(2), pages 157-176, June.
    4. Binder, Martin & Freytag, Andreas, 2013. "Volunteering, subjective well-being and public policy," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 97-119.
    5. Carolyn Schwartz & Penelope Keyl & John Marcum & Rita Bode, 2009. "Helping Others Shows Differential Benefits on Health and Well-being for Male and Female Teens," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 431-448, August.
    6. Baris Yoruk, 2013. "Does giving to charity lead to better health? Evidence from tax subsidies for charitable giving," Discussion Papers 13-03, University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics.
    7. Jia-Jia Syu & Min-Ning Yu & Po-Lin Chen & Pei-Chun Chung, 2013. "The effects of marriage on volunteering and mental health: moderated mediation analysis," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 47(5), pages 2447-2457, August.
    8. Grant, Adam M. & Sonnentag, Sabine, 2010. "Doing good buffers against feeling bad: Prosocial impact compensates for negative task and self-evaluations," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 111(1), pages 13-22, January.
    9. Lindsey McDougle & Femida Handy & Sara Konrath & Marlene Walk, 2014. "Health Outcomes and Volunteering: The Moderating Role of Religiosity," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 117(2), pages 337-351, June.
    10. Myriam Mongrain & Jacqueline Chin & Leah Shapira, 2011. "Practicing Compassion Increases Happiness and Self-Esteem," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 12(6), pages 963-981, December.

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