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Busy Yet Socially Engaged: Volunteering, Work–Life Balance, and Health in the Working Population

Ramos, Romualdo MSc; Brauchli, Rebecca Dr.; Bauer, Georg Dr. med.; Wehner, Theo Prof. Dr.; Hämmig, Oliver Dr.


In a recent publication in Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine,1 February 2015, the affiliation information for Oliver Hämmig, Dr, was omitted. Dr Hämmig is with the Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 57(6):e57, June 2015.

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: February 2015 - Volume 57 - Issue 2 - p 164–172
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000327
Original Articles

Objective: To understand the relationship between volunteering and health in the overlooked yet highly engaged working population, adopting a contextualizing balance approach. We hypothesize that volunteering may function as a psychosocial resource, contributing to work–life balance and, ultimately, health.

Methods: A total of 746 Swiss workers participated in an online survey; 35% (N = 264) were additionally volunteers in a nonprofit organization. We assessed volunteering, work–life balance perceptions, paid job demands, and resources and health outcomes.

Results: After controlling for job characteristics, volunteering was associated with less work–life conflict, burnout and stress, and better positive mental health. Results further revealed that balance perceptions partly explained the relationship between volunteering and health.

Conclusions: Volunteering, albeit energy and time-consuming, may contribute to a greater sense of balance for people in the workforce, which might, in turn, positively influence health.

From the Department of Management, Technology and Economics, ETH Zurich (Mr Ramos and Dr Wehner), and Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute, University of Zurich (Mr Ramos, Dr Brauchli, and Dr Bauer), Zürich, Switzerland.

Address correspondence to: Romualdo Ramos, MSc, Division Public and Organizational Health, University of Zürich, Winterthurerstrasse 30, CH-8006 Zürich, Switzerland (

The authors have no conflict of interest regarding this manuscript.

This project was funded by the Swiss National Foundation for Science.

Copyright © 2015 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine