Participation sociale et bénéfices associés

Résumé des présentations

Less is more: complex volunteer jobs and more volunteering attenuate the benefits of volunteering on cognition

Nicole Anderson, Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest Health Sciences, University of Toronto; Malcolm A. Binns, Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest Health Sciences; Edeltraut Kröger, Université Laval, Centre d'excellence sur le vieillissement de Québec du CIUSSS de la Capitale-Nationale; Thecla Damianakis, University of Windsor; Laura M. Wagner, University of California at San Francisco; Deirdre Dawson, Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest Health Sciences, University of Toronto; Syrille Bernstein; Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest Health Sciences; the BRAVO team

Higher levels of cognitive functioning were seen in seniors having held more cognitively or socially complex occupations. We tested the influence of different characteristics of volunteers’ roles on their cognitive, physical, and psychosocial benefits. A group of 169 adults aged 56-86, not working or volunteering at baseline, was assessed before, after 6 and 12 mts of volunteering. Linear mixed-effects models with random intercept were fit to cognitive, physical, and psychosocial measures as predicted by a) demographic/personal variables, b) self-versus other-oriented motivations for volunteering, c) time (before, 6 mts, 12 mts), and d) volunteer job complexity.

Higher levels of cognition were found in younger participants, females, and those with fewer self-oriented reasons for volunteering. Likewise, higher levels of physical functioning were found in younger participants, males, those with fewer negative life events, fewer self-oriented motivations for volunteering or more other-oriented reasons for volunteering. Levels of psychosocial functioning were higher among participants who had experienced fewer negative life events, held fewer self-oriented motivations for volunteering or were more motivated to volunteer for other-oriented reasons. Significant cognitive improvements in the first six months were attenuated among volunteers who volunteered > 110 annual hours or in more complex volunteer roles. There were no significant changes over time in physical or psychosocial functioning, but baseline functioning in all 3 domains was lower among those with self-oriented motivations for volunteering. In conclusion, seniors who are volunteering to improve themselves are less cognitively, physically, and psychosocially healthy. Also, initiating a new volunteer role post-retirement is associated with cognitive improvements, but there are threshold effects: improvements occur only in the early months and if one does not volunteer too much or in too challenging roles.

Social participation and perceived health in Mexican elderly

Beatriz Adriana Corona-Figueroa, Autonomous University of Guadalajara; Elva Dolores Arias-Merino, University Center of Health Sciences, University of Guadalajara


Social participation is a characteristic of positive aging, as indicated by the models of healthy aging1, successful aging2 and active aging1. Social participation shows the degree of involvement of an older adult (OA) within their society. Among the associated factors are: socioeconomic status, masculine gender and marital status3, health, vision and hearing4, religion5, cohabitation and dental status6, among others.

It has been observed that social participation is strongly associated with health. There is evidence that by increasing activities, failures in cognitive tasks are reduced and if they remain active, they have a strong protective factor for cognitive deterioration. Self-reported health can be an important indicator in adulthood and has been found to be associated with objective indicators such as memory, nutrition and disability7.


To identify the relationship between social participation, perceived health and sociodemographic variables in Mexican elderly people.


Study based on the database of the Health, Well-being and Aging Survey (SABE), states of Colima and Jalisco, Mexico8,9. For this analysis, OA with cognitive impairment were excluded, n = 2400, men 911 and women 1489. Index of social participation, included: current work (survey moment), leisure, living accompanied and maintaining religious activities. The index of perceived health: current self-reported health, a year ago and compared with other people, memory, avoid leaving the house or looking in the mirror for teeth, nutritional status, hearing, near / distant vision and depressive symptoms. Both indexes were classified as: very good, good and bad. The analysis was done in SPSS, it was considered a 95% confidence with a p> 0.05.


Participants: average age of 71.67 years for men and 70.45 years for women. 15.7% without schooling, men mentioned more schooling than women. In their marital status there was a difference by sex, men 74.2% were married compared to 48.8% of women, p = .000. Most indicators of perceived health were higher in men, with the exception of "no look in the mirror because of the denture" that did not show significant differences (Figure 1).


Consequently, also the level of perceived health was higher. The prevailing level of perceived health was "good", in men present in 61.3% and in women 55.3% (p = .000), the "very good" level 31.5% and 22.4% respectively (p = .000) (Figure 2).

Regarding the indicators of social participation; the current work was greater in men (33.8% p = .000) and recreation and religious activities in women (74.6% p = .000) (Figure 3).

The "good" level of participation was higher in men (47.6%) than in women (45.9%) (Figure 4).

Finally, poor participation increases as poor health increases (p = .000). The highest percentages are in good social participation and good health (Table 1).

Table 1

Social Participation and Perceived Health in Mexican Elderly Persons


Social Participation

Perceived Health

Very good



Very good












Chi Square Test,  p = .000


Our findings in social participation are in line with Guajardo and Hunneus10, in formal social spaces, men have a better performance; in informal spaces such as religious activities and recreation, it was higher in women, as well as in the "very good" category. From this work derives the need to identify those activities that increase social participation in men and women, and to make visible the informal spaces that promote greater social participation in women; spaces that could be strategic to increase health promotion and prevention. In addition to perceived health, some other conditions must be considered. For example, illiteracy affects 19.9% of men and 28.7% of women among older Mexican adults and this condition is strongly associated with isolation and few opportunities for life development.

In the end, social participation and health have a biunivocal relationship: who feels healthy, will tend to show greater participation, and having more participation keeps the person healthy. This study takes into account the differences between men and women regarding the indicators of perceived health and social participation and provides important information for the establishment of policies that contribute to the social participation and health of this important group of our society.


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  4. Crews, J. E., y Campbell, V. A. (2004). Vision impairment and hearing loss among community-dwelling older Americans: implications for health and functioning. American journal of public health, 94(5), 823-829.
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  9. Arias-Merino E.D. (2015). Resultados de la Encuesta SABE Colima. En Secretaría de Salud Federal, Encuesta Salud, Bienestar y Envejecimiento SABE Colima (págs. 60-102). México, Secretaría de Salud.
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