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Altruism and HealthPerspectives from Empirical Research$
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Stephen G. Post

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195182910

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195182910.001.0001

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Self-Initiated Volunteering and Mental Health

Self-Initiated Volunteering and Mental Health

(p.82) 6 Self-Initiated Volunteering and Mental Health
Altruism and Health

Marc A. Musick

Miranda R. Waggoner

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores an association between volunteering and health. It proposes and tests a theory focused on self-initiated volunteering, that is, volunteering which is done by someone who has not been asked to do the volunteering. It is hypothesized that people who engage in this type of volunteering will reap greater mental health rewards from that activity than those who volunteer after being asked to do so. The chapter proceeds as follows. The first part reviews the literature on volunteering and mental health and then discusses how self-initiated volunteering should fit into this framework. Next, it tests expectations using a newly collected data set that contains extensive measures of volunteering and mental health. It concludes with a discussion of findings and what future research might do to further knowledge in this domain.

Keywords:   volunteerism, health, self-initiated behaviour, mental health

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