Eldercare Volunteers and Employees: Predicting Caregiver Experiences from Service Motives and Sense of Community
Volunteers (n = 52) and eldercare employees (n = 160) completed measures of personal motives, sense of community, and satisfaction and stress from assisting the elderly. Caregiver satisfaction was best predicted for volunteers by feelings of reciprocal responsibility to peers. For employees, satisfaction was predicted by strong motives reflecting one’s personal values, heightening self-esteem, gaining an understanding of the elderly, and a need to socialize with others. Caregiver stress for volunteers was predicted by motives of low self-esteem, high needs for protection from similar illness, and a desire toward enhancing one’s personal career goals. For employees, stress was predicted by low levels of reciprocal responsibility and a desire for protection. Results suggest that eldercare satisfaction and stress are predicted by different variables for volunteer and employees requiring different program development for recruitment and retention. Editors’ Strategic Implications: The findings have implications for the way elder care administrators prevent worker and volunteer turnover and thus promote client welfare. Measures of personal motivation and community connection may be relevant to other prevention settings as well.
KeywordsVolunteers Eldercare employees Caregiver experiences Service motives Sense of community
This project was funded in part by a DePaul “Competitive Research Council” Award, with ground transportation and supplies by Southern Cross Care, Inc. (Tas), and housing by the University of Tasmania “Visiting Scholar Program” provided to the second author in support of a research leave. Gratitude is expressed to Richard Sadek, Peter Patmore, the Board of Trustees, and staff and volunteers at SCC (Tas). Special thanks is expressed to Garry Askey-Doran, who facilitated this project, assisted in the data collection process, and provided guidance, support, and above all friendship, making this project possible and a pleasure.
- Bowman, H. W., & Ferrari, J. R. (2003). In the service of others: Functions, management, and recruitment of volunteers at Southern Cross Care of Tasmania. Technical report submitted to SCC (Tas), Tasmania, Australia.Google Scholar
- Bristow, M. J., & Ferrari, J. R. (2005). Employee status, satisfaction, and stress: Examining a sense of community and caregiver experience among Australian eldercare staff. Networks: Australian Community Psychology Journal, 17, 16–22.Google Scholar
- Catano, V. M., Pretty, G. M., Southwell, R. R., & Cole, G. K. (1993). Sense of community and union participation. Psychological Reports, 72, 333–334.Google Scholar
- Clary, E. G., Snyder, M., & Ridge, R. (1992). Volunteers’ motivations: A functional strategy for the recruitment, placement, and retention of volunteers. Non-Profit Management and Leadership, 2, 349–354.Google Scholar
- Cohen, B. H. (2001). Explaining psychological statistics (2nd ed.). New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.Google Scholar
- Hollinger-Smith, L. (2003). It takes a village to retain quality nursing staff. Nursing Homes Long Term Care Management, 52, 52–56.Google Scholar
- Kapoor, M., & Ferrari, J. R. (2005). Psychological sense of community among eldercare volunteers: Understanding caregivers in Tasmania. Australian Journal of Volunteering, 10, 7–14.Google Scholar
- Omoto, A. M., & Malsch, A. M. (2005). Psychological sense of community: Conceptual issues and connections to volunteerism-related activism. In A. M. Omoto (Ed.), Processes of community change and social action (pp. 83–103). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.Google Scholar
- Omoto, A. M., Snyder, M., & Martino, S. C. (2000). Volunteerism and the life course: Investigating age-related agendas for action. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 22, 181–197.Google Scholar
- Snyder, M., & Omoto, A. M. (2001). Basic research and practical problems: Volunteerism and the psychology of individual and collective action. In W. Wosinska, R. B. Cialdini, D. W. Barrett, & J. Reykowski (Eds.), The practice of social influence in multiple cultures (pp. 287–307). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.Google Scholar