June 26, 2013 by: Jennifer Clampet
Last Reviewed June 25, 2013
Engaging in 200 hours of volunteer work a year may keep hypertension
So says researchers with Carnegie Mellon University who found that
volunteer work could be an effective non-pharmaceutical option to
help prevent hypertension in older adults.
Study results showed that those who reported at least 200 hours
of volunteer work during an initial interview were 40 percent less
likely to develop hypertension than those who did not volunteer
when evaluated four years later. The specific type of volunteer
activity was not a factor – only the amount of time spent volunteering led to
increased protection from hypertension.
"As people get older,
social transitions like retirement, bereavement and the departure
of children from the home often leave older adults with fewer natural
opportunities for social interaction," Sneed said. "Participating
in volunteer activities may provide older adults with social connections
that they might not have otherwise. There is strong evidence that
having good social connections promotes healthy aging and reduces
risk for a number of negative health outcomes."
The study – which was published in the American Psychological
Association’s Psychology and Aging journal – focused
on more than 1,100 adults between the ages of 51 and 91 from across
the United States. Participants were interviewed twice, in 2006 and
2010, and all had normal blood pressure levels at the first interview.
Gergana Markova, Robert C. Ford, Duncan R.
Dickson, Thomas M. Bohn examined what moved people to join a professional
member association. They
looked at tangible and symbolic benefits: including such
things as obtaining certification, continuing education, finding
jobs, and interest in local chapter activities. Here are
some of their conclusions:
Among the benefits of most interest
were access to conferences, website usage, professional development
opportunities, and good
Survey results confirmed that retention was impacted by good
customer service and tangible benefits are major factors for
One result of the study was the strong positive relationship
between good customer service and member satisfaction.
Ineffective performance of customer
service (volunteer administration) diminishes the perception
of benefits provided. Benefits
lead to retention.
Tangible benefits were more influential in determining the
satisfaction of older members.
Read the full report in Nonprofit Management
and Leadership. Ask
a local librarian to check inter-library loans or a local university
may subscribe to this journal.