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Louise Cooper

Doctor of Clinical Psychology, (Doctor of Clinical Psychology)
Study Completed: 2015
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
Doing Good and Feeling Well: Understanding the Relationship Between Volunteering and Mental Wellbeing in Older Adult Populations Through the Application of a Social-Cognitive Theory of Depression

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Ms Cooper''swork explored the relationship between volunteering and protection against depressive symptoms in older adult populations.  The study evaluated the extent to which a social-cognitive theory of depression (Oatley & Bolton, 1985) could explain the mechanisms involved in this relationship. Analyses of longitudinal data demonstrated that older adults with poorer physical health benefited more from volunteering over time, in terms of their mental wellbeing, than older adults in relatively good physical health. Additional analyses of cross-sectional data indicated that volunteering might facilitate older adults'' investment in highly valued aspects of their self-concept, and subsequently improve their psychological wellbeing. Theorists have previously posited the idea of ''compensatory coping'', whereby older adults may be able to replace the psychological benefits of lost social roles through the uptake of volunteering. The findings of Ms Cooper''sstudy question this proposition.  

Associate Professor Paul Merrick
Professor Fiona Alpass

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