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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Social Sciences eTheses
Title: Dynamics of volunteering amongst English older adults: exploring associations with life-course factors and policy implications
Author(s): McNicol, Stacey
Supervisor(s): Rutherford, Alasdair
Lambert, Paul
Keywords: volunteering
Issue Date: 31-May-2023
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: In response to population ageing in the UK, there has been increased policy and sector efforts to promote volunteering. Despite this, overall volunteering has been stable or falling. In older adults, this could be due to policy changes which extend working lives, alongside existing age-related roles, and responsibilities. In light of this, this thesis draws upon longitudinal data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing to address two key research aims: to explore life-course factors that are associated with volunteering in older age and to explore how changes in employment and state pension age (SPA) policy may be associated with volunteering. Multi-level models revealed that having more resources, and coming from highly skilled, non-manual occupations increased the likelihood of volunteering, suggesting an inequality underlying who is volunteering. Retirement is positively associated with volunteering, with males participating at a higher frequency than females in retirement. While widowhood had an overall negative relationship with volunteering, random slopes analysis revealed individual variability over time, suggesting widowhood may not have the same influence for all. Working beyond SPA, and for financial reasons, reduced the likelihood of volunteering. Survival analysis revealed no significant difference between experiencing a change in SPA or not on volunteering in retirement, however, microsimulation models forecast that increasing the SPA could decrease the volunteer population in the future. From these findings, suggestions for policy makers and voluntary organisations include reaching out to under-represented populations and working to reduce barriers to participation, encouragement of volunteering within workplaces, and promotion of flexible types of volunteering (e.g. online) which could better incorporate those with limited time and resources into volunteering. This thesis therefore contributes to a better understanding of the dynamics of volunteering amongst English older adults, contributing to debates around employment policies in later life, and in the recruitment practices of voluntary organisations.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Affiliation: Faculty of Social Sciences

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