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Time and money volunteering among older adults: the relationship between past and current volunteering and correlates of change and stability


Using data from the first and second waves of the Survey of Midlife Development in the United States – MIDUS1 1995–1996 and MIDUS2 2004–2006, this paper examines the relationship between the extent of time and money volunteering among people aged 55 or more years at baseline and those of the same age nine years later. Following an analysis of the changes and stability in volunteering status, the paper examines the relationships between change or stability in volunteering and various socio-demographic attributes of the respondents and measures of their human capital, cultural capital and social capital. A majority of older volunteers of time and/or money were repeat volunteers, and the extent of volunteering at the start of the studied period was one of the most significant predictors of the extent of volunteering nine years later. The level of education was a consistent predictor of the extent of both time and money volunteering and of new engagement and stability in volunteering. Social network size, or social connectedness, represented by the number of various meetings attended, was a significant predictor not only of the hours of time volunteering, but also of new engagement and stability in both time and money volunteering. A high degree of religious identification also appeared to be a motivation for money volunteering and to affect the value of donations. The paper concludes by discussing the implications of the findings for the recruitment and retention of volunteers.

Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Namkee Choi, School of Social Work, University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station, D3500Austin, TX78712-0358, USA E-mail:
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Ageing & Society
  • ISSN: 0144-686X
  • EISSN: 1469-1779
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