Age differences in volunteering experiences: an examination of generativity and meaning in life

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Thesis type
(Thesis) M.A.
Date created
The purpose of this thesis is to examine differences in volunteering experiences between middle-aged and older aged persons participating in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. Erik Erikson’s (1959/1994) concept of generativity is applied in order to test hypotheses pertaining to age-related associations between a pre-existing community volunteer role and meaning, self-esteem and meaning as well as sense of belonging and meaning. Data were utilized from the Older Olympic Volunteer Project which contained a dataset on aspects of volunteering experiences before and after an intensive and episodic volunteering event among 282 middle-aged and older adults. It was found that the association between a pre-existing community volunteer role and meaning in life was significant only for older adults, the association between self-esteem and meaning in life was discovered to be stronger for middle age adults, whereas the association between sense of belonging and meaning in life was found to be more robust among older adults. The results are discussed with respect to the concept of generativity and meaning in life.
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Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Wister, Andrew
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