The Influence of Major Life Cycle Events on Volunteering
Volunteering motivations and patterns change over the course of a person’s life cycle. This paper tests hypotheses about the relationship between volunteering and four specific life events—the birth of a child, divorce, widowhood, and the death of another household member. I find that having a child decreases a person’s likelihood of volunteering and hours spent in volunteer work. Divorced males were more likely to volunteer and to increase the number of hours volunteered when compared to divorced females. Divorcees with children are also more likely to volunteer and increase the number of hours spent volunteering. Thus, gender and the presence of children in the home are important pathways to volunteering for divorced individuals. Overall, being widowed decreases the likelihood of volunteering and volunteering hours, but older widows tend to increase their volunteering activities. Having another (non-spouse) member of the family pass away is not related to volunteering.