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Comparison of Older Volunteers and Older Nonvolunteers in the Philadelphia Area, 1993-1998 (ICPSR 20460) RSS

Principal Investigator(s):

Summary:

This research was undertaken to uncover the predictors of volunteerism for older persons and to determine the mental health benefits of such activity. The study was conducted from August 1993 until July 1998 in the greater Philadelphia area. A sample of White and African American males and females aged 65 and older were chosen for the study. For the study, four types of volunteer activity were developed. The first two types were "continuous volunteers," those who volunteer throughout the life course, and "continuous nonvolunteers," those who never volunteered. The third type, the "new volunteer," is a person who never volunteered earlier in life but has begun volunteering in later years, most probably as a substitute for lost work or family roles. The last type is the "lost volunteer," the person who once participated in volunteer activities but now has withdrawn from the role. Structural factors included age and income. Cultural factors included perceived importance and past volunteer activity. Perceived importance included level of agreement to a series of five statements such as, "People with unused skills and talents should make use of them by doing volunteer work," and "Volunteer work is essential to meet the communitys' needs." These items were developed specifically for use by persons aged 65 and older. In order to determine past volunteer behavior, a composite measure was created which included any prior volunteer behavior mentioned by both the current volunteers and those currently not volunteering, as well as including any volunteer work of the current volunteers that was a continuation of prior work.

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Dataset(s)

DS0:  Study-Level Files
Documentation:

Study Description

Citation

Shultz, Norah. Comparison of Older Volunteers and Older Nonvolunteers in the Philadelphia Area, 1993-1998. ICPSR20460-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2008-12-22. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR20460.v1

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Funding

This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Institute of Mental Health (R29-48119)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   altruism, marital status, mental health, motivation, older adults, race, self esteem, social support, volunteers

Smallest Geographic Unit:   city

Geographic Coverage:   Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, United States

Time Period:  

  • 1993-08--1998-07

Date of Collection:  

  • 1993-08--1998-07

Unit of Observation:   individual

Universe:   Homes in the greater Philadelphia area with heads of households aged 65 years and older.

Data Types:   survey data

Methodology

Sample:   The sample was generated through the use of purchased addresses and a phone list. The process is referred to as Targeted Age Sampling, and is based on lists drawn from telephone directories and supplemented with automobile registration information, where accessible. Homes in the greater Philadelphia area with heads of households over 65 were targeted.

Weight:   none

Mode of Data Collection:   computer-assisted self interview (CASI), face-to-face interview, self-enumerated questionnaire, telephone interview

Response Rates:   The response rate was 15 percent.

Presence of Common Scales:   The Center for Epidemiologic Studies Index (CES-D) was used to measure the respondents overall depression.

Extent of Processing:  ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

Version(s)

Original ICPSR Release:  

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