Sunday 25 September 2016

Volunteer for better health

Published 06/09/2016 | 02:30

Volunteering can boost your mental health
Volunteering can boost your mental health

More than a quarter of the population in Ireland is involved in some form of volunteering.

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The value of volunteering work amounts to more than €2bn annually, or 232 million hours per year.

Now new research suggests volunteering in middle and older age is linked to good mental health/emotional well-being.

But no such association was seen before the age of 40, suggesting that the link may be stronger at certain points of the life course, say researchers in the British Medical Journal. Previous research has shown that volunteering in older age is associated with better mental and physical health, but it's unclear whether this extends to other age groups.

Researchers, in the observational study, speculate that volunteering at younger ages may just be viewed as another obligation, while social roles and family connections in early middle age may spur people to become involved in community activities, such as in their child's school.

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