-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Aug. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Volunteering may improve
your mental health and help you live longer, a new review
Researchers analyzed data from 40 published papers and found
evidence that volunteers had a 20 percent lower risk of death than
non-volunteers. In addition, volunteers had lower levels of
depression, increased life satisfaction and enhanced
Further research is needed to understand the apparent link
between volunteering and health, the review authors noted.
"Our systematic review shows that volunteering is associated with improvements in mental health, but more work is needed to establish whether volunteering is actually the cause," review leader Dr. Suzanne Richards, from the University of Exeter Medical School in England, said in a university news release.
"It is still unclear whether biological and cultural factors and social resources that are often associated with better health and survival are also associated with a willingness to volunteer in the first place. The challenge now is to encourage people from more diverse backgrounds to take up volunteering, and then to measure whether improvements arise for them," she explained.
The findings were published Aug. 22 in the journal
BMC Public Health.
Worldwide, the number of adult volunteers varies, with estimates
of about 23 percent in Europe, 27 percent in the United States, and
36 percent in Australia, according to the news release.
Common reasons that people cite for volunteering include giving
something back to their community or supporting an organization or
charity that has supported them. Some people also volunteer to gain
work experience or to widen their social circles.
The Nemours Foundation outlines the
family benefits of volunteering.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © EBSCO Publishing. All rights reserved.