The Psycho-Social Processes Linking Income and Volunteering: Chronic Financial Strain and Well-Being


Journal Article

© 2015 Eastern Sociological Society. The positive effect of income on volunteering found in many studies is conventionally explained in utilitarian terms: volunteer work is "costly" or demands "resources." This explanation overlooks important sociopsychological processes. By situating the income-volunteering relationship within the stress process framework, we develop a theory that traces the influence of income on chronic financial strain which in turn affects subjective well-being, which functions as a psychological resource for volunteers. Data taken from two waves of the National Survey of Midlife in the United States confirm this theory: household income has no direct effect on volunteering once chronic financial strain and two measures of subjective well-being-social and eudaimonic-are taken into account.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Son, J; Wilson, J

Published Date

  • December 1, 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 30 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 1059 - 1081

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1573-7861

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0884-8971

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/socf.12208

Citation Source

  • Scopus