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Exploring the Interaction Between Volunteering Status, Paid Job Characteristics and Quality of Volunteers’ Motivation on Mental Health

  • Romualdo Ramos
  • Stefan Güntert
  • Rebecca Brauchli
  • Georg Bauer
  • Theo Wehner
  • Oliver Hämmig
Original Paper

Abstract

The literature on the health-promoting effects of community work has primarily dealt with the population in retirement age, yet the vast majority of volunteers are people still in the workforce. The aim of this study is to observe the relationship between volunteering and health within the context of working life, considering paid work conditions and motives to volunteer as moderating variables. We conducted an online survey with a sample of Swiss workers employed in different industries. Results show that volunteers with self-determined motives (but not with controlled motives) report lower levels of stress and burnout than non-volunteers. Moreover, volunteers in general (regardless of the quality of motivation) report higher levels of work engagement and well-being. Analyses further reveal an interaction effect for burnout and stress, where the difference between self-determined volunteers and non-volunteers becomes larger with unfavorable working conditions at their paid job, hinting at potential compensatory effects. Implications for future research and the voluntary sector are discussed.

Keywords

Volunteering Community work Multiple roles Self-determination Burnout Stress Work engagement Well-being 

Résumé

Les textes sur les effets bénéfiques pour la santé du travail communautaire ont principalement porté sur la population en âge de la retraite, mais la grande majorité des bénévoles est constituée de personnes encore actives. Le but de cette étude est d’observer la relation entre le bénévolat et la santé en contexte, compte tenu des caractéristiques de l’emploi rémunéré et des motivations pour faire du bénévolat dans un échantillon de travailleurs suisses. Les résultats d’un sondage en ligne montrent que les bénévoles ayant des motivations autodéterminées font part de niveaux de stress et de surmenage inférieurs à ceux des personnes non bénévoles. En outre, les bénévoles, en général – peu importe la qualité de la motivation –, indiquent des niveaux plus élevés d’engagement envers le travail et de bien-être. Les analyses révèlent également un effet d’interaction pour le surmenage et le stress, lorsque la différence entre les bénévoles autodéterminés et les non-bénévoles devient plus grande en cas de conditions de travail défavorables dans l’emploi rémunéré. Les auteurs développent les implications pour les recherches futures et le secteur bénévole et communautaire.

Zusammenfassung

Die Literatur zu gesundheitsfördernden Effekten von Gemeindearbeit hat sich hauptsächlich mit Menschen im Rentenalter beschäftigt, obwohl die große Mehrheit der Ehrenamtlichen noch berufstätig ist. Ziel dieser Studie ist es, die Beziehung zwischen ehrenamtlicher Arbeit und der Gesundheit im Zusammenhang zu untersuchen, wobei die Merkmale bezahlter Arbeit und die Motive zur ehrenamtlichen Arbeit in einer Stichprobe von Berufstätigen in der Schweiz betrachtet werden. Die Ergebnisse einer Online-Befragung zeigen, dass Ehrenamtliche mit selbstbestimmten Motiven unter weniger Stress und Burnout leiden als nicht ehrenamtlich Tätige. Darüber hinaus geben die ehrenamtlich tätigen Personen im Allgemeinen (unabhängig von der Motivationsqualität) ein höheres Arbeitsengagement und ein gesteigertes Wohlbefinden an. Analysen zeigen zudem einen Interaktionseffekt für Burnout und Stress, wobei der Unterschied zwischen selbstbestimmten Ehrenamtlichen und nicht ehrenamtlich Tätigen noch größer wird, wenn die Arbeitsbedingungen der bezahlten Tätigkeit ungünstig sind. Implikationen für zukünftige Forschungen und den gemeinnützigen Sektor werden diskutiert.

Resumen

El material publicado sobre los efectos del trabajo comunitario que promueve la salud ha tratado fundamentalmente de la población en edad de jubilación, sin embargo la mayor parte de los voluntarios son personas que siguen todavía en activo. El objetivo del presente estudio es observar la relación entre el voluntariado y la salud en su contexto, considerando las características del trabajo pagado y los motivos para ser voluntarios en una muestra de trabajadores suizos. Los resultados de una encuesta online muestran que los voluntarios con motivos autodeterminados notifican menores niveles de estrés y agotamiento que los no voluntarios. Asimismo, los voluntarios en general (independientemente de la calidad de la motivación) notifican niveles más elevados de compromiso laboral y bienestar. Los análisis revelan también un efecto de interacción para el agotamiento y el estrés, en el que la diferencia entre los voluntarios autodeterminados y los no voluntarios se hace más amplia cuando las condiciones laborales en el puesto de trabajo pagado son desfavorables. Se abordan las implicaciones para investigaciones futuras y el sector del voluntariado.

摘要

关于社区工作对健康的促进作用的研究文献主要针对已达退休年龄的人群,然而,大多数志愿者则属于仍然在职的一群。本研究旨在在一定背景下检视志愿活动与健康的关系。以瑞士工人为研究样本,本研究考虑了付薪工作的特性与志愿者的动机等因素。网上调查的结果显示,与非志愿者相比,具有自我决定动机的志愿者压力较低,倦怠程度也较低。此外,志愿者普遍显示出较高水平的工作投入度与幸福感。分析进一步显示了倦怠与压力的相互作用,其中,在受薪工作不顺利时,自我决定的志愿者与非志愿者之间的差别变得较大。本文还讨论了本研究对于进一步研究以及志愿部门的意义。

要約

コミュニティ業務における健康促進効果に関する文献は、主として退職年齢の人口を取り扱ってきた。しかしボランティアの大半は労働人口である。本研究の目的は、スイスの労働者のサンプルでのボランティアの動機と有給の仕事の特性を考慮して、ボランティアと健康との関係を調査することである。オンライン調査の結果から、自己決定の動機を持つボランティアは、ボランティアでない者よりもストレスや燃え尽き症候群のレベルが低いことが明らかになった。さらに(モチベーションの質に関係なく)、一般のボランティアは業務の遂行と福祉に対して高いレベルを持っている。燃え尽き症候群とストレスの相互関係の効果における分析から、有給の仕事における労働条件が有利でない場合、自己啓発のあるボランティアとそうでないボランティアが増加することがわかった。今後の研究とボランティア・セクターに対する影響を説明する。

ملخص

الأدب على الآثار المعززة للصحة لعمل المجتمع تعاملت أساسا" مع السكان في سن التقاعد، إلا أن الغالبية العظمى من المتطوعين هم الأشخاص الذين لا يزالون في القوى العاملة. الهدف من هذه الدراسة هو أن نلاحظ العلاقة بين العمل التطوعي والصحة في السياق، النظر في خصائص العمل بأجر والدوافع للتطوع في عينة من العاملين السويسريريين. النتائج من إستطلاع رأي على الانترنت يبين أن المتطوعون الذين لديهم دوافع محددة ذاتية ذكروا مستويات أدنى من الإجهاد والإرهاق من غير المتطوعين. علاوة على ذلك، المتطوعين عامة (بغض النظر عن نوعية التحفيز) تذكر مستويات أعلى من الإرتباط بالعمل والرفاهية. التحليلات تبين تأثير تفاعل عدم القدرة على المواصلة والإجهاد، حيث الفرق بين المتطوعين الذين لديهم عزيمة وغيرالمتطوعين يصبح أكبر عند ظروف العمل في وظيفة براتب غير مرغوبة. تمت مناقشة آثار للبحث في المستقبل والقطاع التطوعي.

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Copyright information

© International Society for Third-Sector Research and The Johns Hopkins University 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Romualdo Ramos
    • 1
    • 2
  • Stefan Güntert
    • 1
  • Rebecca Brauchli
    • 2
  • Georg Bauer
    • 2
  • Theo Wehner
    • 1
  • Oliver Hämmig
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Management, Technology and EconomicsETH ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention InstituteUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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