Social Indicators Research

, Volume 117, Issue 2, pp 337–351 | Cite as

Health Outcomes and Volunteering: The Moderating Role of Religiosity

  • Lindsey McDougle
  • Femida HandyEmail author
  • Sara Konrath
  • Marlene Walk


In this paper, we examine whether and what extent public and private forms of religiosity act as moderators of the volunteering and well-being relationship in mid- to later-life. We use data from the second wave of the National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States (n = 1,805). We analyzed the relationships between volunteering and indicators of well-being (self-rated physical and mental health), and tested the moderating effects of public and private religiosity on the volunteering and well-being relationship. Our findings suggest that salubrious effects of volunteering on the self-perceived physical and mental health of middle- aged and older- aged adults varied by their participation in different forms of religiosity. In particular, volunteers who engaged in more public forms of religiosity reported significantly better physical and mental health than non-volunteers who engaged in these forms of religiosity. In other words, individuals who were actively engaged public forms of religious practices and who volunteered, maximized the associated health benefits.


Volunteering Religiosity Health outcomes 



Partial support for this research was gratefully received from a grant by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholars Program at the University of Pennsylvania.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lindsey McDougle
    • 1
  • Femida Handy
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sara Konrath
    • 2
  • Marlene Walk
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Social Policy & PracticeUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Institute for Social ResearchUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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