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Int J Aging Hum Dev. 2003;57(4):313-37.

Fostering social ties through a volunteer role: implications for older-adults' psychological health.

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Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, University of California, Irvine 92697-7085, USA.


This study examined the effects on older adults' psychological health of participation in a volunteer role that afforded opportunities to form friendships with age peers and to express nurturance toward another person. Access to these important social provisions was expected, in turn, to contribute to greater self-esteem, less loneliness, and less depression. The study hypotheses were tested by comparing older adults who served as foster grandparents to a developmentally disabled child (N = 52) with older adults in two comparison groups (Ns = 69, 59). Three assessments were conducted over a two-year period. The analyses revealed that the foster grandparents exhibited a significant increase in the number of new ties formed, but participation in the Foster Grandparent Program was not associated with the expected gains in emotional health. Explanations for the limited findings and implications for future research are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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