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Environmental volunteer well-being: managers’ perception and actual well-being of volunteers.

Kragh, G., Stafford, R., Curtin, S. and Diaz, A., 2016. Environmental volunteer well-being: managers’ perception and actual well-being of volunteers. F1000Research, 5, 2679.

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DOI: 10.12688/f1000research.10016.1


Environmental volunteering is known to be able to increase well-being but environmental volunteer well-being has rarely been compared to participant well-being associated with other types of volunteering or nature-based activities. This paper aims to use a multidimensional approach to well-being to explore the immediately experienced and later remembered well-being of environmental volunteers and to compare this to the increased well-being of participants in other types of nature-based activities and volunteering. Furthermore, it aims to compare volunteer managers’ perception of their volunteers’ well-being with the self-reported well-being of the volunteers. Onsite surveys were conducted of practical conservation and biodiversity monitoring volunteers as well as their control groups, walkers and fieldwork students, respectively, to measure general well-being before their nature-based activity and activity-related well-being immediately after their activity. Online surveys of current, former and potential volunteers and volunteer managers in environmental volunteering and other types of volunteering measured remembered volunteering-related well-being and volunteer managers’ perceptions of their volunteers’ well-being. Data were analysed based on Seligman’s multidimensional PERMA (‘Positive emotion’, ‘Engagement’, ‘positive Relationship’, ‘Meaning’, ‘Achievement’) model of well-being. Factor analysis recovered three of the five PERMA elements, ‘engagement’, ‘relationship’ and ‘meaning’, as well as ‘negative emotion’ and ‘health’ as factors. Environmental volunteering significantly improved positive elements and significantly decreased negative elements of participants’ immediate well-being and it did so more than walking or student fieldwork did. Even remembering their volunteering up to six months later, volunteers rated their volunteering-related well-being higher than volunteers rated their well-being generally in life. However, volunteering was not found to have an effect on overall mean well-being generally in life. Volunteer managers did not perceive the significant increase in well-being that volunteers reported during volunteering. Multidimensional well-being assessments offer the potential for volunteer organisations and managers to more systematically understand, support and enhance volunteer well-being.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Last updated: 30 JAN 2017
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:24969
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:23 Nov 2016 09:35
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:00

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