|Title||Volunteer dynamics of older Americans.|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2009|
|Authors||Butrica, BA, Johnson, RW, Zedlewski, SR|
|Journal||The Journals of Gerontology, Series B|
|Keywords||Aged, Aging, Cross-Sectional Studies, Female, Humans, Life Change Events, Male, Middle Aged, Probability, Retirement, United States, Volunteers|
OBJECTIVES: The impending retirement of boomers has spurred interest in tapping their productive energies to benefit society. This study examined volunteer transitions among older adults to understand the factors that affect volunteer dynamics.
METHODS: Using data from the Health and Retirement Study, the analysis examined entries into and exits from formal volunteer activities between 1996 and 2004 by adults aged 55-65 at study baseline. The study showed the duration of volunteer activities, the probability that older adults start and stop volunteering, and the factors that significantly predict volunteer transitions.
RESULTS: The findings reveal considerable stability among both volunteers and nonvolunteers; however, older adults are more likely to stop volunteering than to start. Volunteers who contribute intensely and for many years and who are married to volunteers are the least likely to quit. And nonvolunteers are more likely to start volunteering if they have been uninvolved for few years and their spouses volunteer.
CONCLUSIONS: The results point to the need to focus efforts on retaining older volunteers to maximize volunteer engagement during later years. Recruiting older adults in volunteer activities early on, ideally before they retire, could also help meet volunteer needs.
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