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Psychol Aging. 2003 Jun;18(2):231-9.

Age and motives for volunteering: testing hypotheses derived from socioemotional selectivity theory.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Arizona State University, Tempe 85287-1104, USA.


Following a meta-analysis of the relations between age and volunteer motives (career, understanding, enhancement, protective, making friends, social, and values), the authors tested hypotheses derived from socioemotional selectivity theory regarding the effects of age on these volunteer motives. The Volunteer Functions Inventory was completed by 523 volunteers from 2 affiliates of the International Habitat for Humanity. Multiple regression analyses revealed, as predicted, that as age increases, career and understanding volunteer motivation decrease and social volunteer motivation increases. Contrary to expectations, age did not contribute to the prediction of enhancement, protective, and values volunteer motivations and the relation between age and making friends volunteer motivation was nonlinear. The results were discussed in the context of age-differential and age-similarity perspectives on volunteer motivation.

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