Table 4: Hypothesis 4: Volunteering is associated with better health outcomes.

StudySampleCohort followupPredictorOutcomeResultsNewcastle-Otawa grade

Pillemer et al. [72]2630 noninstitutionalized adult population20 yearsVolunteering (environmental versus other)Physical activity, self-reported health, and depressive symptomsMidlife environmental volunteering was significantly associated with physical activity, self-reported health, and less depressive symptoms7

Kim and Pai [78]2562 adults 25 years or older8 yearsVolunteering (yes/no) and frequency of volunteeringDepressionOverall, volunteering did not predict trajectories of depression; however, it affects the decline of depression for individuals above age 657

Krause [73]681 older adults6 yearsVolunteering and providing tangible goods and servicesSelf-reported healthprovision of tangible goods and services (food, clothing, shelter) to people in need were associated with better health but only for study participants who were more deeply committed to their faith7

Ayalon [71]5055 Israelis aged 60 years and older7 yearsVolunteeringMortalityThose who volunteered for 10 to 14 years had a reduced mortality risk relative to nonvolunteers. In addition, those who volunteered privately, not as part of an official organization, also had a reduced mortality risk compared to nonvolunteers9

Piliavin and Siegl [74]4000 women and men who graduated from Wisconsin high schools47 yearsVolunteeringPsychological well-being and self-reported healthBoth consistency of volunteering over time and diversity of participation are significantly related to well-being and self-reported health8

Harris and Thoresen [69]7527 American community-dwelling older people96 monthsVolunteeringMortalityFrequent volunteers had significantly reduced mortality compared to nonvolunteers8

Morrow-Howell et al. [75]3617 adults8 yearsVolunteeringSelf-rated health, functional dependency, and depressionOlder adults who volunteer and who engage in more hours of volunteering report higher levels of well-being (including less depression, less functional disability, and better health)8

Musick and Wilson [77]2348 non-institutionalized persons aged 25 and older5 yearsVolunteering workDepressionNo association between volunteering and depression in the younger subsample; only for the 65+ age group did volunteering have a negative effect on depression, while prolonged exposure to volunteering benefits both populations8

Van Willigen [76]2867 adults aged 25 years or older3 yearsVolunteeringPerceived health and life satisfactionThe volunteer role is positively associated with life satisfaction and with perceived health8

Musick et al. [70]2348 noninstitutionalized Persons aged 25 and older8 yearsVolunteeringMortalityVolunteering has a protective effect on mortality among those who volunteered for one organization or for forty hours or less over the past year8