Adults Who Volunteer Are Healthier Than Those Who Do Not

October 8, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. well-being / ˈwɛlˈbi ɪŋ / (n.) – general welfare; act of being in a satisfactory state
Example: Spending his time volunteering gave him a sense of well-being.

2. leisure 
/ ˈli ʒər / (adj.) – not busy, free, available
Example: One of her leisure activities is volunteering at an animal shelter.

3. validate / ˈvæl ɪˌdeɪt / (v.) – to confirm the accuracy of something
Example: The test validated the theory that volunteers have good levels of emotional wellbeing.

4. respondent / rɪˈspɒn dənt / (n.) – a person who responds to surveys
Example: The respondents were adults ages 40 and above.

5. fare / fɛər / (v.) – to do, either in a positive or negative way
Example: She fared well in the exam because she studied hard.


Read the text below.
Adults who volunteer have better mental health and emotional well-being than those who do not, study says.

Researchers from the University of Birmingham and the University of Southampton conducted a survey among more than 66,000 British adults from 1991 to 2008. The survey included questions on leisure time activities and formal volunteering activities. It also included a 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12). Through the GHQ-12, the researchers were able to validate the mental and emotional well-being of the participants.

Findings show that 21% of the respondents have done formal volunteering activities. They fared better in the GHQ-12 compared to those who never volunteered. The study only   covers formal volunteering activities, such as working for a volunteer organization. It did not look into informal volunteering activities, such as helping out a neighbor.

Volunteering has several benefits to a person’s mental health and emotional well-being. First, it provides volunteers a sense of purpose, allowing them to develop their confidence and skills. Volunteering also allows people to build a sense of community. This allows adults to maintain social ties and not live in isolation, which often happens to people as they grow older.

Research shows that older adults are more likely to volunteer than younger adults, because the former are not usually involved in time-consuming activities such as child rearing and employment. Should they be employed, older adults are more likely to work only part-time; thus, they have more free time to volunteer. Older adults are also more financially capable and more confident with their abilities.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Aside from the mentioned benefits of volunteering, how else can volunteering help people?
·         What age group do you think volunteers most in your country? Why do you think so?

Discussion B

·         What do you think is the most important volunteer activity in your country? Why?
·         What do you think is more beneficial: volunteering or donating money/things?

October 8, 2016