Corporation for National Service
By helping others, volunteers appear to help themselves live longer, function at higher levels and reduce depression, says this study, which is based on a review of more than 30 rigorous scientific studies.
The research suggests that volunteering is particularly beneficial for older adults and those serving at least 100 hours a year. For adults age 65 and older, the positive effect of volunteering on physical and mental health was linked to a personal sense of accomplishment. Adults who volunteered after experiencing a heart attack reported reductions in despair and depression – two factors that that have been linked to mortality in patients with post-coronary artery disease. Free. 20 pages. (202) 606-6840, http://www.nationalservice.gov/pdf/07_0506_hbr.pdf.