London, Aug 23 (IANS): Volunteering may lead to better health and increased longevity, says a study.
Volunteering can improve mental health and help you live longer, finds the study published in the open access journal BMC Public Health.
The research led by the University of Exeter Medical School pools and compares data from multiple experimental trials and statistical studies.
Some observational evidence points to around a 20 percent reduction in mortality among volunteers compared to non-volunteers.
Volunteers also reported lower levels of depression, increased life satisfaction and enhanced well-being, although the findings have yet to be confirmed in trials.
Worldwide, the prevalence of adult volunteering varies with estimates of 22.5 percent in Europe, 36 percent in Australia and 27 percent in the US.
Volunteers commonly cite altruistic motives for their habit -- 'giving something back' to their community, or supporting an organisation or charity that has supported them, reports Science Daily.
Volunteering can also be used to gain work experience or to widen social circles, but its effects may go far deeper.