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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02647

Benefits of older volunteering on wellbeing: an international comparison

 Marta Gil-Lacruz1*, María I. Saz-Gil2 and Ana I. Gil-Lacruz2
  • 1Department of Psychology and Sociology, Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Zaragoza, Spain
  • 2Department of Business Management and Organization, Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Zaragoza, Spain

Healthier aging implies lower health service expenditure and the possibility for individuals to make a longer and more valuable contribution society. Lifestyles, including volunteering, affect our health. The policy implications of the present study aim to broaden the state of knowledge and be useful to public decision-makers: If voluntary activities enhance the integration of older people into society, their participation will help to generate economic resources and improve their own welfare. If, however, health and participation do not show positive synergies, then policy makers must act independently in each of these fields. In this work we focus on the societies of Chile, Mexico and Spain because they have a significantly aging population, share common traits but also exhibit important differences. The empirical study employs micro-data from the World Value Survey (1994-1998; 2005-2009 and 2010-2014) and macro-data from the statistics of OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development). Micro and macro-data are crossed by national and temporal identifiers. Our main results provide empirical evidence that volunteering might improve any indicator of wellbeing except happiness. Different kind of activities has different impact on individual wellbeing. For example, volunteering in activities related to social awareness is positive for male life satisfaction, whereas volunteering in activities related to religious issues is positive for male life satisfaction, but also female happiness. In general, voluntary activities have a stronger impact on male wellbeing than female wellbeing.

Keywords: Non-Profit Organizations (NPOs), volunteering, Aging, lifestyles, wellbeing, health'

Received: 27 Jul 2019; Accepted: 08 Nov 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Gil-Lacruz, Saz-Gil and Gil-Lacruz. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Marta Gil-Lacruz, Department of Psychology and Sociology, Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, 50009, Aragon, Spain, mglacruz@unizar.es