Volunteerism 3
Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Volunteering is a valuable way of using free time and, research has shown, it also has benefits for the volunteer’s health. Dr. Edward Hill concludes his three-part look at volunteerism in today’s 60 Second Housecall.

Over the past two decades we have seen a growing body of research that indicates volunteering provides individual health benefits in addition to social benefits.

Perhaps the first and biggest benefit people get from volunteering is the satisfaction of incorporating service into their lives and making a difference in their community and country. The intangible benefits alone—such as pride, satisfaction and accomplishment—are worthwhile reasons to serve.

A project conducted by the University of Michigan Survey Research Center over a 10-year period showed that men who volunteered regularly in community service were two and a half times more likely to live longer than those who didn’t.

A similar study conducted by Cornell University produced similar results for females. Participating in volunteer work was the primary indicator of who would be the healthiest and live the longest. Both studies also showed that participating in volunteer activities was strongly related to positive self-esteem and life satisfaction.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, I’m Dr. Edward Hill.