Volunteer, couples, mid-life, later life, life course


The expectation for older people to volunteer has increased, and married Americans are more likely to volunteer. Drawing on life course and couple decision-making theories, this research examines mid- and later life American couples' volunteer patterns. Ninety-five (95) couples are analyzed to determine characteristics of three groups of couples-both volunteer, neither volunteer, or only one spouse volunteers. Multinomial logistic regression comparing all couples simultaneously finds significant diferences. Couples with no volunteers are more likely to report lower joint marital satisfaction and at least one spouse out of the labor force than couples where one spouse volunteers. Couples who have both spouses volunteer are more likely to have a husband with a traditional gender role ideology than those where only one spouse volunteers. Caregiving has no impact on couple volunteering. This paper addresses implications for volunteer recruitment.

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