Six-year follow-up on volunteering in later life
Broese Van Groenou, M.I.
Tilburg, T.G. van
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Given population aging and the productive potential of older people, it is important to examine how individual and societal developments affect social engagement in later life. The study aimed to disentangle the effects of age, aging, and cohort on volunteering among the young old. Using data from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam, we examined volunteering rates of young olds (N=2,745) in two decades: those being 55-69 years old in 1992 and their age-peers in 2002. Six-year follow-up on both cohorts allowed for cohort-sequential analyses. Multilevel logistic regression analyses revealed that (i) regardless of age, the 2002 cohort volunteered more often than the 1992 cohort, (ii) in 6 years’ time volunteering increased for the 55- to 59-year-olds, stabilized among the 60- to 64-year-olds, and declined among the 65- to 69-year-olds, and (iii) these age-differential changes were observed in both cohorts. These effects remained significant after adjusting for gender, education, religious involvement, health, employment status, network size, and partner status. A higher education, religious involvement, staying in good health, and maintaining a large network increased the likelihood of volunteering. Unobserved factors, such as a more positive view on aging within society, may also account for the large increase in volunteering among the recent cohort of young olds.