Volunteer’s Motives and Subjective Well-being 71

1 dic 2013   | Blog

Les reproduzco el póster que presentamos en el último congreso de la ISSID 2013 celebrado en Barcelona. Aprovecho para agradecer a Mª Ángeles Quiroga su invitación.

Volunteer’s Motives and Subjective Well-being

Cabrera Darias, Marcial; Marrero Quevedo, Rosario J. & Carballeira Abella, Mónica


Volunteer is a person that expends his/her time helping others without receiving financial compensation.  Recently, studies about the effects of volunteering on the psychological well-being are developing. Volunteer participation have showed positive consequences on the provider and recipients of help (Thoits  &  Hewitt,  2001).   Some studies suggested that the experience as volunteer allows to accomplish individual goals and it has repercussions on greater life satisfaction and mental and physical health (Van Willigen,  2000). Some  individuals’ motivations for involving in volunteering have been:   to help others, to develop the self, to express personal values, to enhance self-esteem, to learn new skills or to solve ego-conflicts (Omoto & Snyder, 1995).  Previous findings had been contradictory about whereas the self-oriented motivations were more or less important than others oriented motivations. In this study, the motivations of volunteers to participate in community work and the relationship with the subjective well-being are analysed.

To analyse the main motivations for volunteer participation.
To analyse the relationship between the motivations and the time spent in the organization and the subjective well-being.


Participants:  153 individuals, ranging in age from 17 to 65 (Mean= 36.20). 44 men (28.8%) and 109 women (71.2%).

- Satisfaction with Life Scale -SWLS- (Diener, Emmons, Larsen & Griffin, 1985)
- Subjective Happiness Scale  (Lyubomirsky & Lepper, 1999)    
- Positive and Negative Affect Schedule –PANAS- (Watson, Clark & Tellegen, 1988)
- Checklist initial motives for volunteering (Marrero & Darias , unpublished)


Half of the participants indicated as the main motives for participating in volunteering: to help others, fulfilment, need to do something useful, and feel good or in peace.

The relationship between subjective well-being and volunteer’s motives was analyzed. Happiness was associated to the request of the organization, and negative emotions were related to previous private experiences. Relationships between motives of volunteering, life satisfaction and positive emotions were not found.

The time of permanence was associated to the desire of doing something useful, being at peace with themselves, moral obligation, requesting of the organization, previous experiences and self-actualization. Relationships between motives and subjective well-being varied in each indicator. 


- The results showed that the main motives for participating in volunteering are auto-centered more than hetero-centered. Thus, the volunteer involves anything else than an altruistic behavior.
- The motives were associated to the time spent in the organization but showing few relations to well-being.
- The interest showed by the organization in the collaboration of the individual was associated to happiness.
- Curiously, to live previous experiences or private personal circumstances could produce negative emotions and decrease well-being.


Diener, E., Emmons, R.A., Larsen, R.J. & Griffin, S. (1985). The Satisfaction with Life Scale. Journal of Personality Assessment, 49, 71-75.
Lyubomirsky, S. & Lepper, H.S. (1999). A measure of subjective happiness: Preliminary reliability and construct validation. Social Indicators Research, 46, 137-155. 
Omoto, A. M. & Snyder, M. (1995). Sustained helping without obligation: motivation, longevity of service, and perceived attitude change among AIDS volunteers. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 68, 671-686.
Thoits, P.A. & Hewitt, L.N. (2001). Volunteer work and well-being. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 42, 115-131
Van Willigen, M. (2000). Differential benefits of volunteering across the life course. Journal of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 55, S308-S318.
Watson, D., Clark, L.A. & Tellegen, A. (1988). Development and validation of brief measures of positive and negative affect: The PANAS Scales. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54, 1063-1070.

Cualquier sugerencia y/o aportación pueden hacerla llegar a través del blog o contactando con:
Rosario J. Marrero Quevedo
Dpto. Personalidad, Evaluación y Tratamiento Picológico
Universidad de La Laguna. Tenerife

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