Volunteerism during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A look at Risk Perceptions, Health Behaviors, and Quality of Life
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Objective: The COVID-19 pandemic has had effects on individuals and society with thousands of citizens volunteering to fill the gaps in their communities' infrastructure and services. It is unclear how volunteering during the pandemic has impacted the health of volunteers. This study sets out to examine the effect volunteering has on quality of life during the pandemic. Methods: The measurement tool (N=173) was an online survey that was distributed to a sample of volunteers via email. Participant's time spent volunteering and how COVID-19 has impacted their quality of life, health behaviors, and risk perceptions were assessed. Data was analyzed using general frequencies, bivariate correlations, and an adjusted linear regression model. Results: A significant positive correlation between volunteering and an individual's overall quality of life (p=.045) was found. An adjusted regression model showed the relationship was not significant (p=.47) after controlling for covariates. Conclusion: The COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative effect on individual health behaviors that contribute quality of life. The act of volunteering may offset these impacts and promote individual wellbeing. Actions should be taken to promote volunteerism. Additional research is needed, and volunteer organizations should consider taking further steps to promote healthy behaviors in their operations, training, and engagement.