Thy will be done: Exploring the longitudinal rewards of religious group membership enactment during volunteering

Juliet Ruth Helen Wakefield*, Mhairi Bowe, Blerina Këllezi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
18 Downloads (Pure)


The volunteering literature is replete with studies revealing the health benefits of volunteering. This has led psychologists to question whether social processes may help deliver these benefits while also supporting sustained volunteering engagement. The Social Identity Approach (SIA) recognizes that volunteering takes place in groups and sheds light on these processes by providing insights into group dynamics. Specifically, recent work within the Social Cure tradition has revealed the dynamic relationship between volunteering and group identification, and how this can influence health and well-being. This study extends previous work by exploring whether the relationship is mediated by the extent to which volunteers feel able to enact their membership of a valued group (specifically their religious group) through their volunteering. People who volunteer with religiously motivated voluntary groups (N = 194) completed the same online survey twice, three months apart (T1/T2). For participants high in religiosity, T1 identification with their voluntary group positively predicted their sense of being able to enact the membership of their religious group through their voluntary work at T2, which in turn was a positive predictor of T2 mental health and volunteer engagement. The implications of these findings for both the theoretical literature and for voluntary organizations are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-275
Number of pages23
JournalBritish Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number1
Early online date18 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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