The Science Behind Volunteering
The science speaks for itself: volunteering has tangible health benefits for people of all ages.
- Volunteers live longer! A study from the T.H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard University in 2020 shows adults who volunteered had a significantly lower risk of mortality
- Volunteers have a better sense of well-being. University of Hong Kong researchers found volunteering and acts of kindness were linked to a higher sense of well-being in a meta-analysis of similar studies.
- Volunteers have better cardiovascular health! The Gerontological Society of America found middle age and older volunteers were less likely to suffer from a variety of heart disease-related indicators. Volunteers also have lower blood pressure, according to a study from Carnegie Mellon.
- Volunteers have a lower risk of cognitive impairment! Scientists at Arizona State University have found that volunteers are less likely to exhibit signs of cognitive impairment associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease as they age.
- Volunteering is beneficial for the brain. fMRI studies show that acts of giving to others reduce stress-related activity and increase reward-related activity in the brain. A separate study from Johns Hopkins showed volunteers have overall increased brain function.
- Multiple studies have shown that children who grow up volunteering with their families are more likely to volunteer as adults. (click here and here and here for another study)
- Kindness is contagious! A meta-analysis of 88 studies showed that shows witnessing acts of generosity and other prosocial behaviors make us more likely to act in the same way.
- Volunteers have lower rates of depression, according to multiple studies. (Also click here and here and here)