Does volunteering increase happiness? Depends on your personality

  • Kathryn Buchanan (Participant)

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference


Poster presentation.

Abstract as follows:

The present study employed an agency-communion framework to examine factors that may affect changes in subjective well-being subsequent to volunteering. Specifically, we examined effects of personality traits, values, reasons for volunteering and perceived benefits of volunteering on change in positive affect, negative affect and life satisfaction. Fifty-eight students participating in national volunteering week completed questionnaires both before and after participating in community projects. Measures of trait agency and communion, agentic and communal reasons for volunteering, agentic and communal benefits gained from volunteering, values and subjective well being were obtained. Results revealed volunteering significantly increased life satisfaction. Changes in positive affect were significantly predicted by personality traits and values. Specifically, those high in trait communion experienced increased positive affect, an effect not found for those high in trait agency. Similarly, those who valued benevolence were significantly more likely to experience increases in life satisfaction. Volunteers who valued power were significantly more likely to experience decreases in positive affect. Reasons for volunteering did not impact changes in any of the subjective-well-being measures. Only agentic benefits gained from volunteering predicted changes in positive affect. Overall, these findings show volunteering can increase well-being. However, the beneficial effects of volunteering appear to vary and some people may even experience a reduction in well-being.

and poster presenter
Period8 Sept 2010
Event typeOther