ERIC Number: ED245140
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Nov
Reference Count: 0
Volunteerism and Life Satisfaction in Older People: A Test of Activity Theory.
Although activity theory proposes a strong relationship between social activity and life satisfaction among older individuals, little research has considered the salience of the activity to the individual. In order to consider the salience of the activity, using volunteer activity as a measure, survey results from the Myths and Realities of Aging in America study (Harris, 1975), commissioned by the National Council on Aging, were used. Data on 1,491 (from a sample of 4,254) respondents having complete survey responses were analyzed. The independent variables were volunteer status, marital status, race, sex, employment, age, and level of interaction with family and friends. Life satisfaction was assessed by the Life Satisfaction Index (A). An analysis of the results showed only a low positive association between volunteerism and life satisfaction. The relationship of frequency of volunteering and life satisfaction was not supported by the data. Analysis of the independent variables indicated that only health status significantly correlated with life satisfaction. These findings draw into serious question the postulates of activity theory and its role in social gerontology. (BL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Activity Theory
Note: Revised version of a paper presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society (36th, San Francisco, CA, November 17-22, 1983).