Volunteers and potential volunteers in later life: Results from the Belgian Ageing Studies

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Samenvatting

Purpose: The main purpose of this contribution is to investigate whether potential volunteers, volunteers and non-volunteers in later life are different from each other in terms of demographic, socioeconomic, physical and mental health, and family status.

Methods: We used data collected from the Belgian Ageing studies (N=32.124) living in 127 municipalities and cities in Flanders, Belgium. Multinomial logistic regressions are applied to analyse the key variables characterizing older volunteers, potential older volunteers, and older non-volunteers.

Results: Analyses indicate that volunteers, compared to non-volunteers, have a higher level of education, are in better physical health, experience less psychological distress, and are more likely to be unmarried. Potential volunteers are more likely to have a higher level of education, to be divorced, and are in better physical health than non-volunteers. Potential volunteers, compared to volunteers, are more likely to be men, have a lower level of education, a lower level of income, and are more likely to be divorced or cohabitants.

Conclusions: Our findings stress the need for recognizing the various multidimensional factors that affect voluntary work in later life. Thresholds like low level of education and financial vulnerability explain more about the reasons for being a non-volunteer and are crucial for voluntary organisations and social policy. Future research should maintain a contextual perspective on volunteering.
Originele taal-2English
Titel35th Wintermeeting
StatusPublished - 2 mrt 2012

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