The Engagement of Older People in Civil Society Organizations

Andrea Principi, Carlos Chiatti, Giovanni Lamura, Frerich Frerichs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article reviews recent international literature on the opportunities and restrictions experienced by older people to act as volunteers in civil society organizations. Our aim was to develop a conceptual framework applicable to the European ageing society. This aim was pursued through a computerized database search focused on studies analyzing the individual, organizational, and/or societal levels. Findings show that senior volunteers are characterized by "younger" age, good health, and a high level of both educational and socioeconomical status. Volunteers are involved mainly in religious organizations as well as in social and personal care, while main barriers are represented especially by ageist practices. The review shows that the debate on this topic has been barely developed in Europe, both from an individual and societal point of view. Therefore, European countries might take advantage from experiences made in other contexts, but the identification of how this can occur requires further and more specific cross-national research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-106
Number of pages24
JournalEducational Gerontology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Education

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