An interview-based study in India explored self-perceived linkages between well-being and volunteering. Individuals engaged in long-term volunteering indicated positive development in terms of mental health and general physical health, as well as strengthened social connections. Further, volunteers on long-term assignments experienced higher levels of self-acceptance, sense of engagement, and growth, compared with short-term volunteers.
Link Between Psychological Well-Being and Volunteering
- Long-term volunteers experience higher levels of positive psychological outcomes in both mental health and general physical health
- Engagement in community activities contributes to positive youth development through competence, confidence, caring, and connection
- Volunteering propels positive youth development that enables skill building and comfort with identity
- Long-term volunteers report that engaging in volunteer activities give them a sense of purpose
- Prejudices diminish
- Individuals who volunteer are able to interact well with people from a different social class
- Volunteers gain a willingness to go beyond individual comfort zones
- Serving the community fosters higher levels of self-confidence in social situations
- Volunteers achieve better emotional regulation skills and manage negative emotions
Volunteering Fosters Positive Development in Youth
Civic engagement and volunteering experiences are avenues for propelling positive youth development. Volunteers at an animal rescue and protection organization developed enhanced competencies, improved shifts in self-perception and social-moral thinking.