Older People—The Reserve Army of Volunteers?: An Analysis of Volunteerism among Older Australians Academic Article uri icon


  • In Australia, as in other Western countries, policy-makers are turning their attention to older people, particularly the early retired, as a rich potential source of volunteers. This study examines volunteer behavior in a sample of older Australians in either their immediate pre or post retirement phase. It involves a secondary analysis of data collected for a study on retirement, and seeks to examine the main social and demographic differences between those who volunteer and those who do not. The key concepts associated with volunteering are the availability of 1) time and 2) social and personal resources. Logistic regression analyses revealed that volunteers are significantly more likely to come from the higher occupational classes, are less likely to be self-employed, and are more likely to view their health positively. Implications of these results for social policy are discussed.

publication date

  • April 1998