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Volunteer Work among 55 to 70-Year-Olds in Germany

Date 15 Jan 2016

In a new article published in the current issue of the Zeitschrift für Gerontologie und Geriatrie Frank Micheel from the BiB analyses volunteer work and potential volunteer work among Germans aged 55 to 70 years.

The aim of this article is to describe the potential with respect to volunteer work among 55 to 70-year-old persons along with a two-dimensional typology (actual volunteer work and intention of volunteering or expanding actual volunteer work) and to identify the influencing factors.

Based on the dataset from the Transitions and Old Age Potential (TOP) study, a total of 4421 men and women born between 1942 and 1958 were included. A multinomial regression model showed the predictors for group affiliation along with an engagement-related typology (internal, utilized and external volunteer potential as well as definite non-volunteers).

More than a half of the persons in the study sample could be classified as internal or external volunteer potential. Volunteers and potential volunteers revealed more similarities regarding resources and social factors than potential volunteers and definite non-volunteers. Potential volunteers were more active in other informal fields of activity (e.g. nursing or child care) than definite non-volunteers.

With respect to volunteer work, definite non-volunteers showed various social disadvantages (in particular with respect to education and health) compared to (potential) volunteers. Other informal activities did not seem to be in major conflict with volunteer activities, e.g. nursing or child care, as long as they were carried out with moderate or low intensity.

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