The benefits of volunteering are well-documented, however, studies specifically investigating the cessation of volunteering in old age are relatively limited, especially on multiple stops of volunteering. The present study explores the number of times older people stop volunteering over 14 years, and examines its association with financial resources, health, family demands, social networks, neighborhood environment as well as the sociodemographic characteristics. Using eight-wave data from the Health and Retirement Study, the sample included 3914 volunteers who were 50 + in 1998 and were alive throughout 2012. Among the sample, 32.75% never stopped volunteering, 41.47% stopped once, 20.77% stopped twice, and 5.01% stopped three times. Findings from Poisson regression models indicated that respondents who were older, less educated, less religious, had lower income at baseline, later developed cognitive problems, became caregivers, and had no friends living nearby were more likely to stop volunteering multiple times. Findings from the present study suggest retaining volunteers by adjusting volunteering responsibilities for older volunteers who are more vulnerable to volunteering cessation and encouraging continued commitment by maximizing their friendship and religious networks.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health(social science)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Civic engagement
- Productive aging
- Volunteer activity
- Volunteer cessation