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Volunteering is associated with increased survival in able-bodied participants of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing

Rogers, NT; Demakakos, P; Taylor, MS; Steptoe, A; Hamer, M; Shankar, A; (2016) Volunteering is associated with increased survival in able-bodied participants of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 10.1136/jech-2015-206305. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Volunteering has been linked to reduced mortality in older adults, but the mechanisms explaining this effect remain unclear. This study investigated whether volunteering is associated with increased survival in participants of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing and whether differences in survival are modified by functional disabilities. METHODS: A multivariate Cox Proportional Hazards model was used to estimate the association of volunteering with survival over a period of 10.9 years in 10 324 participants, while controlling for selected confounders. To investigate effect modification by disability, the analyses were repeated in participants with and without self-reported functional disabilities. RESULTS: Volunteering was associated with a reduced probability of death from all causes in univariate analyses (HR=0.65, CI 0.58 to 0.73, p<0.0001), but adjustment for covariates rendered this association non-significant (HR=0.90, CI 0.79 to 1.01, p=0.07). Able-bodied volunteers had significantly increased survival compared with able-bodied non-volunteers (HR=0.81, 95% CI 0.69 to 0.95, p=0.009). There was no significant survival advantage among disabled volunteers, compared with disabled non-volunteers (HR=1.06, CI 0.88 to 1.29, p=0.53). CONCLUSIONS: Volunteering is associated with reduced mortality in older adults in England, but this effect appears to be limited to volunteers who report no disabilities.

Type: Article
Title: Volunteering is associated with increased survival in able-bodied participants of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1136/jech-2015-206305
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jech-2015-206305
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2016 by the BMJ Publishing Group Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Ageing, Disability, Mortality
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Surgery and Interventional Sci
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Behavioural Science and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Epidemiology and Public Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1474233
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