Attachment to volunteering
We propose that volunteers' attachment to their work is determined by the level of resources they bring to it, the rewards they derive from it, and the context in which the work is carried out. We test this theory using two waves of the Americans' Changing Lives panel study (1986-1989). The resources part of the theory is supported: the likelihood of remaining in the volunteer labor force across the two waves is greater for the more highly educated, those who report higher rates of formal and informal social interaction, and those who have children in the household - the last effect is stronger for women. Respondents reporting an increase in regular working hours across the two waves are more likely to cease volunteering. However, declining functional ability has no effect on attachment. The reward part of the theory is not consistently supported. Commitment to volunteer work in the first wave (measured by hours volunteered) predicts being a volunteer in the second, but enjoying the work has no effect, and being satisfied with the results of the work decreases attachment. Compared to a number of other work contexts, church-related volunteering in the first wave is the strongest predictor of being a volunteer in the second.
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