Helping in Times of Crisis: Examining the Social Identity and Wellbeing Impacts of Volunteering During COVID-19

Gray, Debra and Randell, J and Cleveland, M and Manning, R (2023) Helping in Times of Crisis: Examining the Social Identity and Wellbeing Impacts of Volunteering During COVID-19. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology. ISSN 1099-1298

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COVID-19 produced the largest mass mobilisation of collective helping in a generation. Currently, the impact of this voluntary activity is not well understood, particularly for specific groups of volunteers (e.g., new vs existing), and for different amounts of voluntary activity. Drawing on social psychological work on collective helping, and work from the Social Identity Approach to Health, we seek to address this gap through an analysis of survey data from 1001 adults living in the South of England (333 men; 646 women; Age range = 16–85) during the first UK lockdown. Measures included time spent volunteering pre/post COVID, community identification, subjective wellbeing, and volunteering intentions. Those who volunteered during COVID-19 reported higher levels of community identification than those who did not. However, subjective wellbeing benefits were only found for those volunteers who maintained the same level (in terms of time) volunteering pre-and-post the COVID lockdown. New volunteers showed significantly lower levels of wellbeing where they were undertaking 5 or more hours of volunteering a week. Our findings provide unique insight into the variable relationship with wellbeing for different groups of volunteers, as well as how the experiences and functioning of 'crisis’ volunteering is different to volunteering during ‘normal’ times.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Manuscript accepted 04 April 2023
Uncontrolled Keywords: social identity ; health ; volunteering ; community identity ; COVID-19 ; pandemic; wellbeing ; helping ; group membership ; collective helping
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: School of Psychology and Wellbeing
Depositing User: Rachel Manning
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2023 10:53
Last Modified: 01 Jun 2023 10:53

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