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Older adult secular volunteering: volunteer engagement pathways for newcomers and longer-term residents in an American community

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When older individuals move, how do they become engaged in their new communities through volunteer work? Using data from a sample of older Americans in one community of residence in North Carolina in United States, we identify pathways to volunteer engagement for older people and demonstrate how these pathways differ for newcomers and longer-term residents. We also distinguish the differences in pathways between older 'super volunteers' and less active ones. For all residents, volunteers are more likely than non-volunteers to report having strong organisational pathways. These pathways may be religious and secular. However, the effect of having these pathways to volunteering is particularly strong for newcomers. While having weak organisational pathways and personal pathways are more likely to be reported for longer-term residents who volunteer, weak personal pathways are connected to a lower likelihood of being a super volunteer. We conclude by discussing the implications of our findings for theory and practice.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Email: [email protected]

Publication date: November 2015

This article was made available online on September 28, 2015 as a Fast Track article with title: "Older adult secular volunteering: volunteer engagement pathways for newcomers and longer-term residents in an American community".

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  • Voluntary Sector Review publishes high-quality, peer-reviewed, accessible papers on third sector research, policy and practice. It is an invaluable cutting-edge resource for all those researching or working in the fast-growing voluntary, community and wider third sectors.

    The journal covers the full range of issues relevant to voluntary sector studies, including: definitional and theoretical debates; management and organisational development; financial and human resources; philanthropy; volunteering and employment; regulation and charity law; service delivery; civic engagement; industry and sub-sector dimensions; relations with other sectors; social enterprise; evaluation and impact. Voluntary Sector Review covers voluntary sector studies from a variety of disciplines, including sociology, social policy, politics, psychology, economics, business studies, social anthropology, philosophy and ethics. The journal includes work from the UK and Europe, and beyond, where cross-national comparisons are illuminating. With dedicated expert policy and practice sections, Voluntary Sector Review also provides an essential forum for the exchange of ideas and new thinking.

    Rigorous and stimulating, Voluntary Sector Review is an indispensable tool for everyone who values empirically-grounded, theoretically-informed and policy-relevant reviews of the future direction of the voluntary sector.

    Editors: Nick Acheson (Trinity College, University of Dublin, Ireland), Bernard Harris (University of Strathclyde, UK), Rob Macmillan, (University of Birmingham, UK)

    The journal is published in association with the Voluntary Sector Studies Network (VSSN) and a print copy of the journal is a membership benefit.

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