The relationship between time spent in volunteering activities and quality of life in adults over the age of 50 years: A systematic review
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© 2018, The Author(s) 2018. Introduction: Increased attention has focused on the importance of time spent by ageing adults in volunteering. The aim of this systematic review was to analyse literature exploring the relationship between time spent volunteering and quality of life for adults over the age of 50 years. Method: Electronic searches of nine databases located relevant articles involving adults over the age of 50 in volunteering activities that included psychological, physical and social quality of life domains. The quality of the selected articles was assessed and data extracted using preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Results: Of the 65 articles retrieved, 22 were reviewed and eight included in the final review. Studies included one randomised controlled trial, one cross-sectional and six longitudinal studies. Levels of time spent volunteering by participants within the studies varied considerably. Articles retrieved reported positive quality of life outcomes including increases in life satisfaction, self-esteem and social support and a slowed functional decline. Conclusion: Volunteering is identified as an important occupation for adults over the age of 50, although the relationship between time spent volunteering and the impact on quality of life outcomes is still not fully understood. Future research is required to better understand the impact of time spent volunteering on quality of life.
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