Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The art of happiness...Is volunteering the blueprint for bliss?

20.09.2004


New research indicates that helping others raises quality of life for British Citizens.



When we volunteer our time to do something for others, such as helping out an elderly neighbour or taking part in a local community project, it can be good news for our health, our children’s education and even reduce the local crime rate too.

Recent research funded by the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) has revealed that people who live in areas that record high levels of informal voluntary activity in their neighbourhood, also enjoy better health, students achieve higher GCSE grades and their communities suffer fewer burglaries. Professor Paul Whiteley, Programme Director of the ESRC Democracy & Participation Research Programme that produced the findings explains “The research has revealed an interesting link between helping others and enjoying a good quality of life. It seems that when we focus on the needs of others, we may also reap benefits ourselves. It means that voluntary activity in the community is associated with better health, lower crime, improved educational performance and greater life satisfaction. Communities with lots of civic and community engagement are also communities that have environments that foster favourable outcomes such as these”.


Volunteering has a positive influence, irrespective of a community’s social class or wealth. “A relatively poor community with lots of voluntary activity can do better in relation to health, crime and education than a relatively affluent community which lacks such activity” explains Whiteley. The research also tested for links between voluntary activity and overall life satisfaction or happiness. Again there is a strong link between communities with lots of volunteering and those where people are very satisfied with their lives.

At the top of the happiness league, and who recorded high levels of volunteering activity, are residents of provincial cities such as Bristol, Chester, Aberdeen and Cardiff and those from Home Counties such as South Cambridge and Rutland. Sevenoaks in Kent recorded the highest percentage of those who are ‘very satisfied with life’. Whereas inhabitants of London suburbs such as Luton and Waltham Forest or northern cities like Salford, Carlisle and Hull were the least satisfied with their lot, recording the lowest scores in the life satisfaction stakes.

The Home Secretary, the Rt Hon David Blunkett comments “Volunteering is a growing activity. Government figures show that in 2003, 51 per cent of people in England participated in their community – around 20.3 million people. The equivalent contribution to the economy made by people volunteering formally and informally in their community was around 42.6 billion pounds in 2003. Volunteering clearly has benefits for citizens, families and communities. That is why the Government is developing and strengthening our partnership with the voluntary sector, especially in order to reach out to our most deprived communities”.

The research sample was based on 101 district authorities selected at random.

Becky Gammon | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esrc.ac.uk

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht The competitive edge: Dietary competition played a key role in the evolution of early primates
01.08.2018 | Grand Valley State University

nachricht Diversity and education influence India’s population growth
31.07.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

Im Focus: World record: Fastest 3-D tomographic images at BESSY II

The quality of materials often depends on the manufacturing process. In casting and welding, for example, the rate at which melts solidify and the resulting microstructure of the alloy is important. With metallic foams as well, it depends on exactly how the foaming process takes place. To understand these processes fully requires fast sensing capability. The fastest 3D tomographic images to date have now been achieved at the BESSY II X-ray source operated by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin.

Dr. Francisco Garcia-Moreno and his team have designed a turntable that rotates ultra-stably about its axis at a constant rotational speed. This really depends...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Early opaque universe linked to galaxy scarcity

15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Molecular switch detects metals in the environment

15.08.2018 | Materials Sciences

Seeing on the Quick: New Insights into Active Vision in the Brain

15.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>