Advertisement

European Journal of Ageing

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 91–102 | Cite as

Do predictors of volunteering in older age differ by health status?

  • Andrea Principi
  • Henrike Galenkamp
  • Roberta Papa
  • Marco Socci
  • Bianca Suanet
  • Andrea Schmidt
  • Katharine Schulmann
  • Stella Golinowska
  • Agnieszka Sowa
  • Amilcar Moreira
  • Dorly J. H. Deeg
Original Investigation

Abstract

It has been widely recognised that poor health is one of the main barriers to participation in volunteer activities in older age. Therefore, it is crucial to examine the participation of older people in volunteering, especially those in poor health. Based on the resource theory of volunteering, the aim of this study is to better understand the correlates of volunteering among older people with different health statuses, namely those without health problems (neither multimorbidity nor disability), those with mild health problems (multimorbidity or disability), and those with severe health problems (multimorbidity and disability). Data were drawn from the fourth wave (2011–2012, release 1.1.1) of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe, which includes European people aged 50 years or older. The results showed that variables linked to volunteering were generally similar regardless of health status, but some differences were nevertheless identified. For older people with mild or severe health problems, for instance, depressive symptoms were negatively associated with their involvement in volunteer activities. We found a positive association of being widowed (rather than married) with volunteering in older people with particularly poor health, whereas high income was associated with volunteering in the case of mild health problems only. These results demonstrate that variables associated with volunteer participation partially differ between older people depending on their health status. These differences should be considered by policy makers in their attempts to promote volunteering in older people, as a means of preventing their social exclusion.

Keywords

Older volunteers Active ageing Multimorbidity Disability Health conditions SHARE 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This project received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development, and demonstration under Grant Agreement No. 320333 (MOPACT). This paper uses data from SHARE wave 4 release 1.1.1, as of March 28, 2013. The SHARE data collection was primarily funded by the European Commission through the 5th Framework Programme (Project QLK6-CT-2001-00360 in the thematic programme Quality of Life), through the 6th Framework Programme (Projects SHARE-I3, RII-CT-2006-062193, COMPARE, CIT5-CT-2005-028857, and SHARELIFE, CIT4-CT-2006-028812), and through the 7th Framework Programme (SHARE-PREP, No. 211909, SHARE-LEAP, No. 227822, and SHARE M4, No. 261982). Additional funding from the U.S. National Institute on Aging (U01 AG09740-13S2, P01 AG005842, P01 AG08291, P30 AG12815, R21 AG025169, Y1-AG-4553-01, IAG BSR06-11, and OGHA 04-064) and the German Ministry of Education and Research as well as from various national sources is gratefully acknowledged (see www.share-project.org for a full list of funding institutions).

References

  1. Ahn SN, Phillips KL, Smith ML, Ory MG (2011) Correlates of volunteering among aging Texans: the roles of health indicators, spirituality, and social engagement. Maturitas 69:257–262CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anderson ND, Damianakis T, Kröger E, Wagner LM, Dawson DR, Binns MA, Bernstein S, Caspi E, Cook SL et al (2014) The benefits associated with volunteering among seniors: a critical review and recommendations for future research. Psychol Bull 140:1505–1533CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Becker GS (1964) Human capital. Columbia University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  4. Burr JA, Choi NG, Mutchler JE, Caro FG (2005) Caregiving and volunteering: Are private and public helping behaviors linked? J Gerontol B Psychol 60:247–256CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Butrica BA, Johnson RW, Zedlewski SR (2009) Volunteer dynamics of older Americans. J Gerontol B Psychol 64:644–655CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Choi LH (2003) Factors affecting volunteerism among older adults. J Appl Gerontol 22:179–196CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Connolly A, O’Shea E (2015) The perceived benefits of participating in voluntary activities among older people: Do they differ by volunteer characteristics? Act Adapt Aging 39:95–108Google Scholar
  8. Cutler SJ, Hendricks J (2000) Age differences in voluntary association memberships: fact or artifacts. J Gerontol B Psychol 55:98–107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Erlinghagen M (2010) Volunteering after retirement: evidence from German panel data. Eur Soc 12:603–625CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Erlinghagen M, Hank K (2006) The participation of older European in volunteer work. Ageing Soc 26:567–584CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. European Commission (2013) About the European innovation partnership on active and healthy ageing, Innovation Union—a Europe 2020 initiative. Retrieved December 9, 2014, from http://ec.europa.eu/research/innovation-union/index_en.cfm?section=active-healthy-ageing&pg=about
  12. Foster L, Walker A (2013) Gender and active ageing in Europe. Eur J Ageing 10:3–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hank K, Stuck S (2008) Volunteer work, informal help, and care among the 50 + in Europe: further evidence for ‘linked’ productive activities at older ages. Soc Sci Res 37:1280–1291CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hao Y (2008) Productive activities and psychological well-being among older adults. J Gerontol B Psychol 63:64–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Herzog AR, Kahn RL, Morgan JN, Jackson JN, Antonucci TC (1989) Age differences in productive activities. J Gerontol B Psychol 44:129–138CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Jensen PH, Principi A (2014) Introduction: enhancing volunteering in later life in Europe. In: Principi A, Jensen PH, Lamura G (eds) Active ageing: voluntary work by older people in Europe. The Policy Press, Bristol, pp 3–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kahana E, Bhatta T, Lovegreen LD, Kahana B, Midlarsky E (2013) Altruism, helping, and volunteering: pathways to well-being in late life. J Aging Health 25:159–187CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. King HR, Jackson JJ, Morrow-Howell N, Oltmanns TF (2015) Personality accounts for the connection between volunteering and health. J Gerontol B Psychol 70:691–697CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kriegsman DMW, Deeg DJH, Van Eijk JTM, Penninx BWJH, Boeke AJP (1997) Do disease specific characteristics add to the explanation of mobility limitations in patients with different chronic diseases? A study in the Netherlands. J Epidemiol Commun H 51:676–685CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Li Y, Ferraro KF (2005) Volunteering and depression in later life: social benefit or selection processes?. J Health Soc Behav 46:68–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Li Y, Ferraro KF (2006) Volunteering in middle and later life: is health a benefit, barrier or both? Soc Forces 85:497–519CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Luijben AHP, Galenkamp H, Deeg DJ (2013) Mobilising the potential of active ageing in Europe: trends in healthy life expectancy and health indicators among older people in 27 EU countries. VU University Medical Centre, MOPACT, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  23. Marengoni A, Angleman S, Melis R, Mangialasche F, Karp A, Garmen A, Meinow B, Fratiglioni L (2011) Aging with multimorbidity: a systematic review of the literature. Ageing Res Rev 10:430–439CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. McNamara TK, Gonzales E (2011) Volunteer transitions among older adults: the role of human, social and cultural capital in later life. J Gerontol B Psychol 66:490–501CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Mood C (2010) Logistic regression: why we cannot do what we think we can do, and what we can do about it. Eur Sociol Rev 26:67–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Morrow-Howell N (2010) Volunteering in later life: research frontiers. J Gerontol B Psychol 65:461–469CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Mutchler JE, Burr JA, Caro FG (2003) From paid worker to volunteer: leaving the paid workforce and volunteering in later life. Soc Forces 81:1267–1293CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Okun MA, Michel J (2006) Sense of community and being a volunteer among the young-old. J Appl Gerontol 25:173–188CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Parker MG, Thorslund M (2007) Health trends in the elderly population: getting better and getting worse. Gerontologist 47:150–158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Prince MJ, Beekman AT, Deeg DJ, Fuhrer R, Kivela SL, Lawlor BA, Lobo A, Magnusson H, Meller I, van Oyen H, Reischies F, Roelands M, Skoog I, Turrina C, Copeland JR (1999a) Depression symptoms in late life assessed using the EURO-D scale. Effect of age, gender and marital status in 14 European centres. Br J Psychiatry 174:339–345CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Prince MJ, Reischies F, Beekman AT, Fuhrer R, Jonker C, Kivela SL, Lawlor BA, Lobo A, Magnusson H, Fichter M, van Oyen H, Roelands M, Skoog I, Turrina C, Copeland JR (1999b) Development of the EURO-D scale—a European, Union initiative to compare symptoms of depression in 14 European centres. Br J Psychiatry 174:330–338CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Principi A, Chiatti C, Lamura G, Frerichs F (2012) The engagement of older people in civil society organisations. Educ Gerontol 38:83–106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Principi A, Warburton J, Schippers J, Di Rosa M (2013) The role of work status on European older volunteers’ motivation. Res Aging 35:710–735CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Principi A, Jensen PH, Lamura G (2014) Active ageing: voluntary work by older people in Europe. The Policy Press, BristolCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Principi A, Schippers J, Naegele G, Di Rosa M, Lamura G (2015) Understanding the link between older volunteers’ resources and motivation to volunteer. Educ Gerontol accepted author version posted online, 16 September. doi: 10.1080/03601277.2015.1083391
  36. Putnam RD (1995) Bowling alone: America’s declining social capital. J Democr 6:65–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Rotolo T (2000) A time to join, a time to quit: the influence of life cycle transitions on voluntary association membership. Soc Forces 78:1133–1161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Stephens M, Breheny M, Mansvelt J (2015) Volunteering as reciprocity: beneficial and harmful effects of social policies to encourage contribution in older age. J Aging Stud 33:22–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Suanet B, van Groenou MB, Braam AW (2009) Changes in volunteering among young-old in the Netherlands between 1992 and 2002: the impact of religion, age-norms, and intergenerational transmission. Eur J Ageing 6:157–165CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Tang F (2006) What resources are needed for volunteerism? A life course perspective. J Appl Gerontol 25:375–390CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Thomas PA (2011) Gender, social engagement, and limitations in late life. Soc Sci Med 73:1428–1435CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Unesco (2006) International Standard Classification of Education, ISCED-97, re-edition. Unesco Institute for Statistics, MontrealGoogle Scholar
  43. van den Akker M, Buntinx F, Knottnerus A (1996) Comorbidity or multimorbidity: what’s in a name? A review of literature. Eur J Gen Pract 2:65–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Verbrugge LM, Jette AM (1994) The disablement process. Soc Sci Med 38:1–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Walker A (2011) The future of ageing research in Europe: a road map. University of Sheffield, SheffieldGoogle Scholar
  46. Warburton J, Terry DJ, Rosenman LS, Shapiro M (2001) Differences between older volunteers and nonvolunteers: attitudinal, normative, and control beliefs. Res Aging 23:586–605CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. WHO (2002) Active ageing: a policy framework. World Health Organization, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  48. Wilson J, Musick M (1997) Who cares? Toward an integrated theory of volunteer work. Am Sociol Rev 62:694–713CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Wouterse B, Huisman M, Meijboom BR, Deeg DJH, Polder JJ (2013) Modeling the relationship between health and health care expenditures using a latent Markov model. J Health Econ 32:423–439CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Wymer WW (1999) Understanding volunteer markets: the case of senior volunteers. J Nonprofit Public Sector Mark 6:1–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Zaidi A, Gasior K, Hofmarcher MM, Lelkes O, Marin B, Rodrigues R, Schmidt A, Vanhuysse P, Zolyomi E (2013) Active Ageing Index 2012. Concept, methodology and final results. European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research, ViennaGoogle Scholar
  52. Zimmer Z, Martin LG, Jones BL, Nagin DS (2014) Examining late-life functional limitation trajectories and their associations with underlying onset, recovery, and mortality. J Gerontol B Psychol 69:275–286CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea Principi
    • 1
  • Henrike Galenkamp
    • 2
  • Roberta Papa
    • 1
  • Marco Socci
    • 1
  • Bianca Suanet
    • 3
  • Andrea Schmidt
    • 4
  • Katharine Schulmann
    • 4
  • Stella Golinowska
    • 5
  • Agnieszka Sowa
    • 5
  • Amilcar Moreira
    • 6
  • Dorly J. H. Deeg
    • 2
  1. 1.National Institute of Health and Science on Ageing (INRCA)AnconaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, EMGO Institute for health and Care ResearchVU University Medical CentreAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social SciencesVU University AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  4. 4.European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and ResearchViennaAustria
  5. 5.Center for Social and Economic Research (CASE)WarsawPoland
  6. 6.Institute of Social ScienceUniversity of LisbonLisbonPortugal

Personalised recommendations