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Volunteering and Depression among Older Adults: An Empirical Analysis Based on CLASS 2018

Zhendong Wu1, Chen Xu2, Liyan Zhang3, Yang Wang4, George W. Leeson5, Gong Chen4,*, Julien S. Baker6, Xiao-Guang Yue7,8

1 School of Law, Humanities and Sociology, Wuhan University of Technology, Wuhan, 430070, China
2 Beijing Institute of Aerospace Information, Defense Technology Academy of CASIC, Beijing, 100013, China
3 The People’s Government of Niulanshan Town, Beijing, 101301, China
4 Institute of Population Research, Peking University, Beijing, 100091, China
5 Oxford Institute of Population Ageing, Oxford, OX2 6PR, UK
6 Department of Sport, Physical Education and Health, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong, 999077, China
7 Department of Computer Science and Engineering, European University Cyprus, Nicosia, 1516, Cyprus
8 CIICESI-ESTG, Politécnico do Porto, Felgueiras, 4610-156, Portugal

* Corresponding Author: Gong Chen. Email: email

International Journal of Mental Health Promotion 2023, 25(3), 403-419.


Introduction:: Older adults are prone to high levels of depression due to their deteriorating physical functions and shrinking social networks after retirement. Volunteering as an important social activity is essential for alleviating depression by building social network. This paper aims to examine the effect of volunteering on depression among older adults by using China Longitudinal Aging Social Survey (CLASS 2018) data.Methods:: This study uses descriptive analysis and chi-square tests to show differences in demographic factors of older adults’ volunteerism participation, followed by bivariate correlation analysis to examine the correlation between the vital variables. Afterward, stratified linear regression analysis is used to research the significant level and impact between volunteering and degree of expertise, frequency, and variety of participation.Results:: 8,459 older adults are included in study. The research reveals that older adults who are younger, live in urban areas, are married, or have a higher degree of education tend to have fewer depressive symptoms. Meanwhile, participation in volunteering (OR = 0.90, 95% CI: 0.8, 1.1, p < 0.001), as well as that demands specialized skills (OR = 0.51, 95% CI: 0.30, 0.2, p < 0.001), more frequency of participation (OR = 1.85, 95% CI: 1.53, 2.18, p < 0.001), and a wider variety of activities (OR = 0.21, 95% CI: 0.12, 0.29, p < 0.001), all have a positive influence on depression levels.Discussion/Conclusion:: Older adults who participate in voluntary services have lower depression symptoms and should be encouraged to use their professional skills and increase participation frequency and variety in this process. This article suggests that governments should help older adults participate in voluntary services by time bank which will further strengthen social ties, rebuild social networks and alleviate depression symptoms of older adults.


Cite This Article

APA Style
Wu, Z., Xu, C., Zhang, L., Wang, Y., Leeson, G.W. et al. (2023). Volunteering and depression among older adults: an empirical analysis based on CLASS 2018. International Journal of Mental Health Promotion, 25(3), 403-419.
Vancouver Style
Wu Z, Xu C, Zhang L, Wang Y, Leeson GW, Chen G, et al. Volunteering and depression among older adults: an empirical analysis based on CLASS 2018. Int J Ment Health Promot. 2023;25(3):403-419
IEEE Style
Z. Wu et al., "Volunteering and Depression among Older Adults: An Empirical Analysis Based on CLASS 2018," Int. J. Ment. Health Promot., vol. 25, no. 3, pp. 403-419. 2023.

cc This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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