Volunteering in three life stages

Debbie Haski-Leventhal, Edward Metz, Edward Hogg, Barbara Ibrahim, David H. Smith, Lili Wang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

12 Scopus citations


As a person goes through the various stages of life, many things change, including the ways one volunteers and for what reasons (Musick and Wilson 2008). This chapter reviews research on formal volunteering at three different life stages: youth, elderly, and parental volunteering. In each stage, we discuss the definitions, unique characteristics, and scope of volunteering. We further analyze the existing knowledge on motivations, benefits, challenges, and impact for each age group. Furthermore, we discuss the cultural differences of volunteering in each stage in various regions around the world. We conclude with a comparison between the three groups and discuss future trends. The three life stages examined are more distinct and meaningful in industrial and post-industrial societies than in less complex societies, owing to mass education and longer lifespans. Given wide cultural differences in how individuals progress through these stages, the intersection of life-cycle stage and cultural setting are major variables in understanding patterns of volunteering.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of Volunteering, Civic Participation, and Nonprofit Associations
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781137263179
ISBN (Print)9781137263162
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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