Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Emily Sheridan 

BSc [Hons] Applied Psychology

I am a soon to be graduate of IADT Applied Psychology. I thoroughly enjoyed the diverse array of modules I studied over the last four years in IADT. My areas of interest include developmental, educational and social psychology. During my fourth year, I worked part time with St. John of Gods Carmona Services, supporting adults with intellectual disabilities. I also regularly work with various children's charities. Upon completion of post graduate studies, I hope to pursue a career working with children in the disability sector.

Project Description

Volunteering is a prosocial behaviour that millions of people partake in world-wide. The benefits of volunteering have been widely researched, it has been linked to better health, increased well-being and life satisfaction. Many people volunteer during their college years, despite this, much of the research that exists on volunteering focuses on an older population of volunteers. Therefore, this project focused on the life satisfaction of young adult volunteers aged 18-35 years. This project also focused on the reasons why young adults volunteer, and how they differ between individuals. Using a quantitative approach, volunteer motivations and life satisfaction were measured empirically.

Project Objectives

This project aimed to examine if the life satisfaction of young adult volunteers, their volunteer motivations and their employment status. It was hypothesised that volunteer motivations would differ based on employment status and that volunteer motivations would impact life satisfaction.
This project aimed to address the following research question:
Is there a difference in the life satisfaction of young adult volunteers based on employment status and volunteer motivations?

Project Outcomes

The findings of this project suggest that young adults who participate in volunteer work have high life satisfaction on average. There was no statistically significant difference in life satisfaction based on any of the subscales of volunteer motivation reported. The subscale participants scored the highest in was Values, this is in contrast to research which suggests that young adults and college students are more motivated by 'selfish reasons'. There was a statisitically signficant interaction effect observed between employment status and the Understanding subscale. This finding could be explained by Socioemotional Selectivity Theory, motivations of young adult volunteers could be primarily orientated around furthering their knowledge and career depending on whether they are working or in college. No statistically signficant interaction effects were observed between employment status and the other subscales of volunteer motivation.

Thesis Title

An Investigation into the Impact of Volunteer Motivations and Employment Status on the Life Satisfaction of Young Adult Volunteers.