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Volunteerism and Burnout: Does Satisfaction of Motives for Volunteering Protect Against Symptoms?

Abstract

Volunteering leads to many positive outcomes, especially when one’s reasons for volunteering are satisfied by one’s volunteer experience. But does this match between motive and experience mitigate against negative outcomes? This study examined whether congruence between reasons for volunteering (i.e., Volunteer Functions) and outcomes of volunteering (i.e., Volunteer Outcome Satisfaction) predicted lower levels of volunteer-related burnout in a sample of 512 adult volunteers. Congruence predicted significantly lower levels of burnout only for the Understanding and Values functions. Volunteers who were highly motivated to volunteer for Understanding and Values functions and experienced satisfaction in these domains reported significantly lower levels of burnout than their counterparts. Contrary to hypotheses, participants who reported low motivation for Enhancement or Social functions but who endorsed high satisfaction of these functions reported lower levels of burnout than those who reported congruence between these motivations and outcomes. Additionally, the congruence hypothesis did not hold true for the Protective or Career functions. Volunteer organizations are urged to attend to the importance of satisfying desired functions of volunteering and to help volunteers identify best-fitting opportunities.

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Correspondence to Jessica L. Morse.

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The authors complied with ethical standards, and this study received full ethical approval from Colorado State University Ethical Review Committee (IRB # 179 -17H).

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Morse, J.L., Dik, B.J., Shimizu, A.B. et al. Volunteerism and Burnout: Does Satisfaction of Motives for Volunteering Protect Against Symptoms?. Voluntas (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11266-020-00257-y

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Keywords

  • Volunteer functions
  • Volunteer outcomes
  • Satisfaction
  • Burnout