Leisure and Time-Use Perspectives on Volunteering

  • John P. Robinson
  • Jonathan Gershuny
  • David H. Smith
  • Kimberly Fisher
  • Chang-Won Lee
  • Robert A. Stebbins


Taking a time-use perspective, this chapter examines where volunteering fits in people’s daily, weekly, and annual time use in different countries and world regions. Within a person’s total time-use pattern, the central focus is on free time and the portion within it that is devoted to volunteering and associational activity. Formal volunteering (FV), whether for service programs or associations, is most often a kind of serious leisure, defined below. Such activity has its own temporal requirements that have to be coordinated with other use of free time, as well as with paid work and non-work obligations (such as family care or personal care, like sleep). Informal volunteering (INV) – volunteering done more spontaneously by individuals without any organizational auspices – is also discussed, as is the travel related to FV and INV. Substantial attention is devoted to options in time-use measurement and methodology, and to the special value of such methods to enhance and overcome biases in survey interview methodology.

The definitions of the Handbook Appendix are accepted here, with special emphasis on FV through some group or organization as the larger context, and on INV, where no such group or organization is involved from the perspective of the individual.


Free Time Family Care Conceptual Background Social Indicator Research Time Diary 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • John P. Robinson
    • 1
  • Jonathan Gershuny
    • 2
  • David H. Smith
    • 3
  • Kimberly Fisher
    • 4
  • Chang-Won Lee
    • 5
  • Robert A. Stebbins
    • 6
  1. 1.USA
  2. 2.UK
  3. 3.USA
  4. 4.UK
  5. 5.South Korea
  6. 6.USA

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