Affiliations: German Centre of Gerontology, Berlin, Germany
Note:  The German Ageing Survey (DEAS) has been funded by the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ). Address for correspondence: Doreen Müller, German Centre of Gerontology, Manfred-von-Richthofen-Straße 2, 12101 Berlin, Germany. E-mail: [email protected]
Abstract: This study investigated age differences in longitudinal effects of volunteering on three facets of subjective well-being (SWB), i.e. positive affect (PA), negative affect (NA), and life satisfaction (LS). Both direct and indirect effects with self-efficacy as mediator were tested. Longitudinal structural equation modeling was used on 5,564 participants of the German Ageing Survey (DEAS) aged 45–54, 55–64, 65–74, and 75–84 years. Volunteering was longitudinally directly related to PA and NA, but not to LS. The mediating role of self-efficacy differed between age groups: While volunteering affected self-efficacy only in the older age groups, self-efficacy affected SWB only in the younger age groups. Hence, indirect effects of volunteering on SWB with self-efficacy as mediator were found for the two age groups around retirement only (55–64, 65–74 years). Volunteering is beneficial for SWB not only directly, but also indirectly via self-efficacy. This mechanism is strongest for age groups around retirement.
Keywords: Volunteering, subjective well-being, self-efficacy, control beliefs, late adulthood