Participation for health and wellbeing: factors associated with older people’s participation in remote and rural communities

Artur Steinerowski, Sarah Bradley, Sarah-Anne Munoz, Jane Farmer, Shona Fielding

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Participation in volunteering is associated anecdotally with maintaining good
health - being a way of keeping mind and body active, engaged and thereby
healthier. It is commonly assumed that involvement in community activities
and organisations benefits both individuals and society.
Research shows associations between health and volunteering, but the use
of self-reporting health surveys amongst volunteers cannot show a causal
relationship. Recent study, largely from North America, is exploring the
connection between participation and health more definitively. Longitudinal
studies have suggested that mental and physical health can be maintained and
even improved through voluntary activity. There is increasing government
interest in promoting volunteering, recognising volunteers as a valuable
community resource. Around a third of adults (1.3 million) in Scotland
volunteered in 2007/08, giving over 142 million hours, with economic value of
£2.2 billion per annum. In the face of economic crisis, the perceived ‘burden’
of growing numbers of retirees and cuts to statutory services, voluntary
organisations appear to be a solution in supporting the public sector with value added for individual as well as community well-being. This might be especially
relevant to remote rural areas where public services are challenging and
expensive to deliver.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHealth Studies: Economics, Management and Policy
EditorsDouglas Angus, Zoe Boutsioli
Place of PublicationAthens
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9789609549257
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • retired people
  • voluntary activity
  • health surveys
  • health benefits
  • rural areas


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