The Immediate Effects of Changes in Life Circumstances on Volunteering Decisions in the USA

Won No, Hyunrang Han, David Swindell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study tests how changes in social background (homeownership status and employment status) and changes in household structure (marital status, number of children, and volunteering behaviors of other household members) influence an individual’s volunteering decision. We use a complex dataset from the US Current Population Survey Volunteer Supplements from 2002 to 2015. We captured the short-term “shock” effect of the changes in life circumstances on the changes in volunteering status; different factors influence start and stop in volunteerism in different ways. A person is more likely to start volunteering when the person became unemployed, when other household members increased their volunteering time, or got married, within a one-year period. Meanwhile, a person who experiences changes in employment, homeownership, or marital status, or has an increase in the number of children is more likely to stop volunteering. Based on the findings, we provide recommendations for those who are interested in volunteer management strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)795-806
Number of pages12
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • Change in volunteer status
  • Life course
  • Life transitions
  • Volunteering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Strategy and Management


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