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Utilizing a mixed-methods research design consisting of two consecutive
phases, this study investigates older adults’ perceptions and understanding of
social connectedness factors influencing late-life volunteering. In the first phase,
quantitative data from the Belgian Ageing Studies project (N = 24,508, from
89 municipalities) was analyzed through regression modeling. In the second,
qualitative phase, focus groups with older people were conducted in each of the
six research locations, to elucidate and build on the quantitative results. The
research findings indicate that formal connectedness is highly influential for both
the potential to volunteer and actually doing so. Membership of an association
and being a new resident are key determinants for volunteering in later life.
Moreover, local policy also functions as an important bridge between long-term
residents and new residents in terms of the social structure of the society and the
extent to which people are integrated into the community.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)523–547
Number of pages24
JournalNonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 14 Oct 2019


  • volunteering
  • social connectedness
  • mixed methods
  • potential volunteers
  • Older people


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