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A Qualitative Exploration into the Association between Volunteering and Well-Being in Mentors using Semi-Structured Interviews and Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis

Kay, Emma (2017) A Qualitative Exploration into the Association between Volunteering and Well-Being in Mentors using Semi-Structured Interviews and Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis. UNSPECIFIED. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

This study aimed to explore the association between volunteering and well-being. Previous literature supports the idea that taking part in volunteering increases well-being (see Thoits and Hewitt, 2001) yet highlight possible factors that may mediate this relationship, such as the volunteers motivations to participate (see Kwok et al, 2012). Although quantitative methods have dominated this research area, they cannot yield the same depth of subjective accounts from participants as qualitative methods. This study implemented semi-structured interviews to achieve this level of understanding of the volunteers experience and its impact upon well-being. The participants in this study were six mentor volunteers, aged 21-56, with one male and five females. Using Interpretive Phenomenological Analyses, two super-ordinate themes emerged that were characteristic of each interview. The first theme centred upon the impact of volunteer characteristics on well-being, whereas the second theme considered how aspects about the volunteer task can affect well-being. There was an overall consensus that mentoring enhanced the well-being of the participants. Interpretation of the accounts gave rise to the idea that factors such as underlying motivations and the nature of the task can affect well-being, as well as volunteer free time. Findings from this research may be beneficial to volunteer organisations when recruiting volunteers, as well as informing prospective volunteers about the well-being benefits of volunteering.

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