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Volunteering is beneficial not only for individuals’ well-being but also for society’s well-being; yet only a fraction of U.S. citizens regularly engage in volunteer activities. This study examined how underlying motivations are associated with interest in volunteering for individuals in three major life phases: early, middle, and later adulthood. Data were collected from 1,046 adults who volunteered through nonprofit organizations in Nevada (USA). Exploratory factor analysis revealed that community service, career advancement, and well-being were common underlying motivations for individuals across life stages. However, generativity among the later adulthood group, and social networking among the early and middle adulthood groups were unique motivations for volunteering. Regression analysis showed that the community service motivation was significantly associated with individuals’ interest in volunteering among all life stages. Simultaneously, generativity for the later adulthood group, and career advancement for the early adulthood group were unique motivations linked to their actual interest in volunteering.
In recent years, volunteering has received increasing attention as a unique form of learning, one which may complement lifelong learning programs for older adults. This study examined the underlying volunteer motivations as well as formal volunteer behaviors among older adult lifelong learners. Data from 277 members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in an urban community in the western part of the United States were analyzed using exploratory factor analysis and binary logistic regression models. Results showed that generativity (i.e., a desire to help next generations or communities), personal development, and well-being are salient underlying volunteer motivators. However, only generativity was associated with actual volunteering among older lifelong learners (odds ratio = 1.55; standard error = .17; p < .05). These findings suggested that existing lifelong learning programs might consider incorporating volunteer-based service learning components into their curricula in order to further promote the benefits of lifelong learning among older adults.
Lifelong learning is receiving greater attention due to population aging in modern societies. Lifelong learning benefits individuals by supporting their physical, psychological, social, and economic well-being. However, older adults generally have lower motivation for learning than younger adults, and facilitating long-term participation in learning activities is still challenging. Previous studies mainly identified negative factors such as barriers and obstacles to individuals’ initial participation in lifelong learning programs. As such, less is known about positive factors that promote long-term participation. To address this gap, data were collected from 330 older adults who participated in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute program in an urban community in the United States. Results from proportional odds ordinal logistic regression analysis demonstrated that gender, number of household members, income, religious affiliation, self-rated health, and number of courses taken were associated with satisfaction with the program. In hopes to promote true lifelong learning, possible explanations about the findings are explored and several recommendations for existing lifelong learning programs are derived in this study.
The Hispanic older adult population is increasing rapidly and past research suggests that this demographic group underutilizes hospice services, highlighting the need to improve our understanding of their needs in end of life. This study relied upon information from the family evaluation of hospice care survey provided by 2980 caregivers, 152 of whom cared for a Hispanic patient and 2828 who cared for a non-Hispanic patient. Caregivers of Hispanic patients were more likely to report that hospice was inconsistent with the patient’s wishes, and that they received more attention than desired for emotional issues. Caregivers of Hispanic patients were also more likely to express that emotional/spiritual forms of support were insufficient. Similar levels of satisfaction were reported for caregivers of Hispanics and non-Hispanics regarding dignity/respect, information received, care coordination, and overall satisfaction.
The Family Evaluation of Hospice Care (FEHC) survey is widely employed by hospices, and several studies have examined this information to help inform and enhance end-of-life services. However, these studies have largely focused on examining relatively straightforward associations between variables and have not tested larger models that could reveal more complex effects. The present study aimed to examine the direct and mediating (i.e., via information/education, patient care, and family support) effects of demographic factors, length of stay, timing of referral, patient symptom severity, location of services, and relationship to caregiver on two outcome variables: overall satisfaction and caregiver confidence.
Although many veterans are progressing into older adulthood and a substantive subset of people who die each year in the United States served in the military, there is limited evidence on the role of military service at the end of life.
Using a sample of 2,838 students from a Southwestern university in the United States, the authors examine the effect of respondent’s gender, the adult’s gender, the age gap between the adult and teen, and the adult’s authority, on students’ perceptions of vignettes describing adult–teen sexual relationships. Specifically, the authors investigate four dependent variables related to perceptions of the crime: the adult offender’s emotional motivation, whether the adult is a sexual predator, whether the adult should have limited interactions with children, and whether the adult should be included on a sex offender registry. ANOVA analysis revealed that a large age gap between the adult and teen, the presence of authority in the relationship, and respondent’s gender were significant predictors of perceptions of the offender as a predator and sex offender. The offender’s gender significantly predicted respondents’ perceived motivations but had no effect on opinions regarding sex offender registration. The authors discuss the implications of these findings for perceptions of statutory rape.
We use data from the 2006 American Community Survey to examine race and ethnic differences in the effects of marital status and co-residence of the middle generation on the likelihood of poverty among grandfathers who have primary responsibility for co-resident grandchildren (N = 3,379). Logistic regression results indicate that race/ethnicity and household composition are significant predictors of poverty for grandfather caregivers: non-Hispanic white grandfathers, those who are married, and those with a co-resident middle generation are the least likely to be poor. The effects of race/ethnicity, marital status, and the presence of a middle generation are, however, contingent upon one another. Specifically, the negative effect of being married is lower among grandfathers who are Hispanic, African American, non-Hispanic, and non-Hispanics of other race/ethnic groups compared to whites. In addition, having a middle generation in the home has a larger negative effect on poverty for race/ethnic minority grandfathers than for non-Hispanic whites. Finally, the combined effects of marriage and a middle generation vary across race/ethnic group and are associated with lower chances of poverty among some groups compared with others. We use the theory of cumulative disadvantage to interpret these findings and suggest that race/ethnicity and household composition are synergistically related to economic resources for grandfather caregivers.
Using a sample of 2,271 workers from the 2002 National Study of the Changing Workforce whose employers offered personal health insurance, this article investigates the gendered nature of health insurance benefit take-ups. These analyses include family and employment characteristics in addition to employers' contributions to health insurance premiums, a measure that is unexamined in sociological analyses of health benefits. Progressive logistic regression models predict the effects of gender and family characteristics. Results indicate that women with employed spouses are less likely to take up their own health benefits than are comparable men, net of basic employment characteristics. Gender differences disappear, however, when controlling for the level of employer contributions: women and men are equally likely to draw on their own employer's health benefits once we account for their out-of-pocket expense. The authors conclude that family contexts and employment structures jointly influence individuals' choices about their health benefits. The gendered structure of employment and, specifically, gendered patterns in employer contributions to health benefits are a better explanation for women's lower chances of benefit take-ups than gender relations within families.
What motivates adult children, parents, and even grandchildren to live together? To answer this question, we review the sociological and social gerontological research on multigenerational households and families. We first provide a snapshot of multigenerational coresidence in the US and then discuss the primary theoretical perspectives used to explain these patterns: exchange theory, altruism, and norms and obligations. Structural conditions including economic crises tend to facilitate adult children moving in with parents (often with dependent children in tow), while spousal loss and declining health act as catalysts for parents moving in with adult children. Furthermore, economic struggles often facilitate the formation of grandparent-headed families where the middle generation parents may or may not be present. We suggest that the current economic recession and housing crises will have profound effects on multigenerational households and may also encourage more coresidence. Changes in social welfare policies, increases in coresident grandparenting, and changes in the racial and ethnic composition of the US also have implications for multigenerational households’ economic and social security.
Using a subsample ( N = 1,365,145) of the 2000 Census 5% Public Use Microdata Sample, the authors investigate explanations for differing poverty chances of cohabiting gay and lesbian, and married and cohabiting heterosexual families. Gay and lesbian couples fare worse than married couples, but better economically than cohabiting heterosexuals. Lesbian and gay families are older and more educated than cohabiting heterosexual families, and these differences explain the largest portion of differences in poverty rates. Greater educational attainment and labor force participation are better explanations than age for differences between married families and their gay and lesbian counterparts. These results add to recent research pointing to variations in the economic circumstances of different family forms.
This paper uses pooled cross-sectional data from the 2000, 2002, 2004, and 2006 General Social Surveys (GSS), a nationally representative sample of the U.S. adult population, to assess how employed parents’ attitudes about affirmative action for women are influenced by their children’s gender. The analytic sample includes 1,695 employed respondents. Findings based on logistic regression indicate that having daughters (and no sons) magnifies employed mothers’ support for affirmative action for women and minimizes employed fathers’ support. Conversely, having sons (and no daughters) does not suppress mothers’ support for affirmative action for women, nor does it differentiate men’s attitudes about affirmative action. We speculate about how these patterns in parents’ attitudes relate to self interest and group interest (i.e., their children’s future work experiences).