Unemployment, especially when involuntary, often has a negative effect on one’s emotional well-being. But is that the same for volunteers and non-volunteers? It could be that volunteers are less sensitive to the stress of job loss by having a social support network and performing a meaningful social activity through their volunteering.

Together with co-author Ellie Heng Qu from Texas A&M, Arjen de Wit and René Bekkers have obtained a grant to analyze the interplay between unemployment, volunteering and well-being. They will use the Emotional Well-being and Health Data Analysis Award to study to what extent volunteering serves as a buffer against the detrimental effects of unemployment. The team will analyze survey data from more than 300,000 respondents in 22 European countries. The analysis is a follow-up on a previous publication in the European Journal of Ageing.