Abstract and Keywords
In addition to its obvious benefits to society, volunteerism is associated with many benefits for the individuals who volunteer. Young people who engage in volunteer activities are less likely to abuse drugs or alcohol, engage in delinquent acts, get pregnant or cause a pregnancy, or suffer from depression. They are more likely to achieve success in school and have better relationships with parents and peers. Adults who volunteer also experience many benefits to health and well-being and even live longer. Volunteering helps create a “civic identity” that is an important component of moral identity and can shape future volunteering and other civic behaviors, such as voting, participating in community organizations, and social activism, across the lifespan. This chapter discusses the important social contexts that can influence volunteerism—parents and families, schools, neighborhoods, religious institutions, and culture—and the ways in which they exert their influence.
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