Volunteering Later in Life Can Enhance Mental Health and Wellbeing

Volunteering Later in Life Can Enhance Mental Health and Wellbeing

Becoming a volunteer later on in life can result in good mental health and wellbeing, according to researchers from the University of Southampton and the University of Birmingham.

However, the study which is published in the BMJ Open online, found these effects did not apply before the age of 40, suggesting that the association with volunteering may be stronger at certain points of the life course. The results also point to the need for further efforts to engage middle aged and older people in volunteering activities.

Researchers from the Southampton Statistical Sciences Research Institute and Birmingham’s Third Sector Research Centre reviewed over 66,000 responses by British adults to questions posed through the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS), now part of the UK Household Longitudinal Study called Understanding Society.

The original Survey, which ran between 1991-2008, asked a range of questions on leisure time activities including the extent of formal volunteering. The Survey also included a validated proxy indicating mental health/emotional wellbeing known as GHQ-12.

Around 21% of respondents said they had carried out some kind of formal volunteering activity with women tending to volunteer more than men.

Across the entire sample, the average GHQ score was the best (lowest) among those who were frequent volunteers and worst (highest) among those who never volunteered… Read More>>

Source: Medical Xpress

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