Social Indicators Research

, Volume 138, Issue 2, pp 809–828 | Cite as

Religion, Volunteerism and Health: Are Religious People Really Doing Well by Doing Good?

  • Jerf W. K. YeungEmail author


While the religion-health connection has been accumulatively established by research findings in one hand, the contribution of volunteering to health is well confirmed empirically on the other hand. Nevertheless, although religion has been long accepted as a feeder system and source of volunteerism, paucity of research has attempted to investigate religious effects on health benefits through the mediation of volunteering. In this study, I examined religious effects on the health outcomes of mental and physical health and life satisfaction through the mediation of other-oriented and self-oriented volunteering based on a statewide representative sample of general adults in Texas. Results showed that both other-oriented and self-oriented volunteering significantly mediated the relationships between participants’ religiosity and health outcomes, but more robust indirect effects through other-oriented volunteering were noted by bootstrap estimates. In addition, the direct effects of religiosity on health outcomes were significantly remained even taking the mediation of volunteering into account, connoting the distinctive role of religion in health that cannot be explained away by secular pathways. Implications of the findings, limitations, and future research directions are also discussed.


Religiosity Volunteering Social integration Social role Health outcomes 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Applied Social SciencesCity University of Hong KongKowloonHong Kong

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