Does a Sense of Benevolence Influence Volunteering and Caregiving among Older People?

TitleDoes a Sense of Benevolence Influence Volunteering and Caregiving among Older People?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsShen, H-W, Delston, JB, Wang, Y
JournalSocial Work Research
ISSN Number1070-5309
KeywordsActivity engagement, Caregiving, Volunteerism

Volunteering and caregiving are both helping behaviors, but they take place in different social contexts. Although personal resources and networks are important factors in understanding whether older people volunteer and provide family care, studies of the psychological factors influencing these behaviors are rare. Using theoretical guidance of the resource and strategic mobilization model, this study aims to construct a psychological factor-sense of benevolence (SBEN)-and elucidate the effects of SBEN on volunteering and caregiving among older adults when personal resources and networks are controlled. Authors, using data from the 2000 Health and Retirement Study, included 939 community-dwelling older adults age 55 years and older in the study. Using principal component analysis, authors retained 10 items to construct the SBEN scale (Cronbach's alpha =.86). Two separate logistic regression models were used to assess the relationships between SBEN and volunteering and SBEN and caregiving. Findings show that higher SBEN increased the likelihood for older people to give care but was not related to volunteering. SBEN may be used as a construct to help understand the psychological factors behind older individuals' helping behaviors to family. Further research identifying mechanisms of engaging older volunteers-that is, psychological and institutional motivating factors-is needed.

Citation Key9325