Volunteering, driving status, and mortality in U.S. retirees.

TitleVolunteering, driving status, and mortality in U.S. retirees.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsLee, SJ, Steinman, MA, Tan, EJ
JournalJ Am Geriatr Soc
Date Published2011 Feb
ISSN Number1532-5415
KeywordsActivities of Daily Living, Aged, Automobile Driving, Female, Health Status, Humans, Male, Prospective Studies, Retirement, Risk Factors, Social Behavior, Survival Rate, United States, Volunteers

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate how accounting for driving status altered the relationship between volunteering and mortality in U.S. retirees.

DESIGN: Observational prospective cohort.

SETTING: Nationally representative sample from the Health and Retirement Study in 2000 and 2002 followed to 2006.

PARTICIPANTS: Retirees aged 65 and older (N=6,408).

MEASUREMENTS: Participants self-reported their volunteering, driving status, age, sex, race or ethnicity, presence of chronic conditions, geriatric syndromes, socioeconomic factors, functional limitations, and psychosocial factors. Death by December 31, 2006, was the outcome.

RESULTS: For drivers, mortality in volunteers (9%) and nonvolunteers (12%) was similar; for limited or non-drivers, mortality for volunteers (15%) was markedly lower than for nonvolunteers (32%). Adjusted results showed that, for drivers, the volunteering-mortality odds ratio (OR) was 0.90 (95% confidence interval (CI)=0.66-1.22), whereas for limited or nondrivers, the OR was 0.62 (95% CI=0.49-0.78) (interaction P=.05). The effect of driving status was greater for rural participants, with greater differences between rural drivers and rural limited or nondrivers (interaction P=.02) and between urban drivers and urban limited or nondrivers (interaction P=.81).

CONCLUSION: The influence of volunteering in decreasing mortality seems to be stronger in rural retirees who are limited or nondrivers. This may be because rural or nondriving retirees are more likely to be socially isolated and thus receive more benefit from the greater social integration from volunteering.


Lee, Sei J Steinman, Michael A Tan, Erwin J K23 AG030999/AG/NIA NIH HHS/United States KL2RR024130/RR/NCRR NIH HHS/United States P30-AG02133/AG/NIA NIH HHS/United States Comparative Study Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't United States Journal of the American Geriatrics Society Nihms289698 J Am Geriatr Soc. 2011 Feb;59(2):274-80. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2010.03265.x.

User Guide Notes


Endnote Keywords

Activities of Daily Living/Automobile Driving/driving Patterns/Health Status/Prospective Studies/Retirement planning/Risk Factors/Social Behavior/Social Behavior/Survival/volunteering

Endnote ID


Alternate JournalJ Am Geriatr Soc
Citation Key7656
PubMed ID21314648
PubMed Central IDPMC3089440
Grant ListKL2 RR024130-05 / RR / NCRR NIH HHS / United States
K23 AG030999 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
KL2 RR024130 / RR / NCRR NIH HHS / United States
KL2RR024130 / RR / NCRR NIH HHS / United States
P30-AG02133 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States