Journal of Primary Prevention

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 231–258 | Cite as

The effects of volunteering on the young volunteer

  • Cynthia W. Moore
  • Joseph P. Allen


This article reviews some of the best researched volunteer service programs for adolescents and addresses three major questions: 1) What do existing data tell us about the effectiveness of community volunteer service programs in positively influencing the lives of the participants? 2) What do we know about why such programs work? 3) What are the most promising directions for future research and programming efforts to pursue? The review suggests that diverse, successful volunteer programs for adolescents, along with school-based support, are related to improvements in both the academic and social arenas. Specifically, volunteering relates to reduced rates of course failure, suspension from school, and school dropout, and improvement in reading grades; to a reduction in teen pregnancy; and to improved self-concept and attitudes toward society. The conditions under which the volunteering occurs, such as number of hours and the type of volunteer work, seem in some cases to be important to these outcomes, as does the age of the student volunteer; however, much is yet to be understood about these factors.

Key words

community service adolescents program evaluation 


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cynthia W. Moore
    • 1
  • Joseph P. Allen
    • 1
  1. 1.The Department of Psychology, Gilmer HallUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesville

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