Choosing to volunteer later in life can improve a person’s wellbeing and support good mental health, research has revealed.

The study conducted by researchers from the University of Southampton and the University of Birmingham has been published in the BMJ Open online and found that the effects of volunteering before the age of 40 did not apply, suggesting that volunteering can have a stronger, more positive effect at certain points in life.

The results of the study further highlighted the need to encourage middle aged and older people to participate in volunteering activities.

Dr Faiza Tabassum, visiting research fellow at the University of Southampton, said: “Voluntary action might provide those groups with greater opportunities for beneficial activities and social contacts, which in turn may have protective effects on health status. Particularly, with the ageing of the population, it is imperative to develop effective health promotion for this last third of life, so that those living longer are healthier.”

Researchers from the Southampton Statistical Sciences Research Institute and Birmingham’s Third Sector Research Centre studied more than 66,000 responses from British adults to from the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS), now part of the UK Household Longitudinal Study called ‘Understanding Society’.



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