Volunteering may make people happier - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Volunteering may make people happier

Updated: Aug 23, 2013 10:06 AM
© Jupiterimages /  Creatas / Getty Images/ Thinkstock © Jupiterimages / Creatas / Getty Images/ Thinkstock
  • What's Going AroundMore>>

  • What's Going Around - April 16th

    What's Going Around - April 16th

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 11:16 AM EDT2014-04-16 15:16:33 GMT
    Sinus infections are going around this week. Nurse Practitioner Christy Johnson from Bay Medical-Sacred Heart Family Medicine says, "A sinus infection is inflammation or swelling of your sinuses. WhenMore >>
    A sinus infection can make a person feel miserable. More >>
  • What's Going Around - April 2nd

    What's Going Around - April 2nd

    Wednesday, April 2 2014 11:29 AM EDT2014-04-02 15:29:17 GMT
    It's allergy season, and a lot of patients are struggling right now. Dr. Brian Shaheen from Bay Medical-Sacred Heart Family Medicine says symptoms of allergies include: Congestion Clear nasal dischargeMore >>
    The first signs of pollen also signal the start of allergy season. More >>

FRIDAY, Aug. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Volunteering may improve your mental health and help you live longer, a new review suggests.

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 well-being.

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.

More information

The Nemours Foundation outlines the family benefits of volunteering.

Copyright © 2013 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.