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Voluntary work during times of military crisis: what motivates people to be involved and what are the effects on well-being?
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Police Education Unit at Umeå University.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Demographic and Ageing Research (CEDAR).
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
2017 (English)In: Psychology, ISSN 2152-7180, E-ISSN 2152-7199, Vol. 8, p. 1601-1619Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The positive health effects of volunteering are quite well described in the lite- rature; however, potential negative effects of volunteering are less explored. Volunteering got attention in Ukraine because of the recent political crisis that brought military conflict to the Eastern part of the country in 2014. In- formal volunteering has transformed into a formal one. In order to be able to organize volunteering that promotes well-being, it is important to have more in-depth knowledge about motives behind volunteering as well as the positive and potential negative effects of it. We explore the case voluntary work in of one of the cities in Ukraine. Military conflict context has its own specifics and different motives make people act voluntarily. There are goal-oriented, val- ue-oriented, affectual and traditional motives present in our data. The data shows that involvement in volunteering brings positive returns on well-being of the providers such as enlarging the circles of friendship and expanding the networks volunteers involved in; brings positive emotions into life; compen- sates the efforts and gives meaning to life. However, the negative effects of volunteering are also present. They are physical tiredness and a lot of time spent on volunteering activities; becoming disconnected from the ordinary (non-volunteering) world; unsafety; neglect of own needs and experiences of negative emotions out of the involvement in volunteering activities. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 8, p. 1601-1619
Keywords [en]
Volunteering, Motives, Health and Well-Being, Social Capital, Military Conflict, Ukraine
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-139706DOI: 10.4236/psych.2017.810106OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-139706DiVA, id: diva2:1143022
Available from: 2017-09-20 Created: 2017-09-20 Last updated: 2018-06-09Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Social capital and well-being in the transitional setting of Ukraine
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Social capital and well-being in the transitional setting of Ukraine
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Background: The military conflict in Ukraine that started in 2014 was accompanied with many changes in the political, economic and social spheres. It brought informal volunteering activities (i.e. one form of social capital) to emerge, function and later to be formalized, in order to support soldiers and their families. This situation is unique given the transitional setting of Ukraine, which has led to comparably low levels of social capital and negative indicators of health and well-being. This thesis aims to explore social capital during military conflict in contemporary Ukraine and to analyze the associations between social capital and well-being, as well as the distribution of social capital among Ukrainian women and men.

Methods: The study combines a qualitative and quantitative research design. A case study was conducted using qualitative methodology. Eighteen in-depth interviews were collected with providers and utilizers of volunteering services. Grounded Theory and social action ideal types methodology of Weber were used for the analysis. The quantitative research utilized two secondary datasets. The World Health Survey was utilized to analyze the association between social capital and physical and mental well-being for women (n=1723) and men (n=910) by means of multivariate logistic regression. The European Social Survey (wave 6) was used in order to investigate access to social capital and the determinants of gender inequalities in the access with a sample of 1377 women and 797 men. Multivariate logistic regression and postregression Fairlie’s decomposition analysis were used to analyze the determinants of the inequalities.

Results: The key findings of this thesis show that social capital transforms during military conflict and takes particular forms in transitional settings. There are positive and negative effects on well-being connected to crisisrelated volunteering. The associations between social capital and well-being vary for women and men in favour of women. Social capital is unequally distributed between different social groups. Some forms of social capital may have stronger buffering effect on women than men in Ukraine. Access to social capital can be viewed as an indicator for social well-being, and thus social capital can be used both as a determinant and an outcome in social capital and health research.

Conclusion: Informal social participation, i.e. volunteering might play an important role in societal crises and needs to be considered in social capital measurements and interventions. Social capital measurements utilized in stable societies do not evidently capture these forms, i.e. it is not taken into account. The associations between social capital and well-being depend on the measurements that are used. Since social capital has both positive and negative effects on well-being, this should be considered in research, policies and practices in order to prevent negative and promote positive outcomes. In Ukraine, as well as in other settings, social capital is an unequal resource for different societal groups. Reducing gender and income inequalities would probably influence the distribution of social capital within the society.

Abstract [sv]

Bakgrund: Den militära konflikten i Ukraina som startade 2014 fick många politiska, ekonomiska och sociala konsekvenser. Konfliktsituationen triggade bland annat framväxten av omfattande informella volontärverksamheter (en form av social kapital) som senare formaliserades, för att stödja soldater och deras familjer. Denna situation är relativt unik, med tanke på Ukrainas postsovjetiska historia med jämförelsevis låga nivåer av socialt kapital och negativa indikatorer för hälsa och välbefinnande. Denna avhandling syftar att undersöka betydelsen av socialt kapital under pågående militär konflikt i Ukraina, samt att analysera sambandet mellan social kapital och välbefinnande, såväl som fördelningen av social kapitalt mellan kvinnor och män i Ukraina.

Metoder: Studien kombinerar en kvalitativ och kvantitativ forskningsdesign. En fallstudie genomfördes med hjälp av kvalitativa metoder. Arton djupintervjuer med volontärer samt mottagare av volontärstöd genomfördes. Analysen genomfördes med hjälp av Grundad Teori och Webers sociala idealtyper. Den kvantitativa forskningen är baserad på två sekundära datamaterial. Världshälsoorganisationens (WHOs) World Health Survey användes för att analysera sambandet mellan socialt kapital och fysiskt och mentalt välbefinnande för kvinnor (n = 1723) och män (n = 910) med hjälp av multivariabel logistisk regression. European Social Survey (våg 6) användes för att undersöka tillgången till socialt kapital och bestämningsfaktorer för ojämlikhet i tillgången till socialt kapital mellan kvinnor (n = 1377) och män ( n = 797). Analysen genomfördes med hjälp av multivariabel logistisk regression och post-regression Fairlie decomposition analys.

Resultat: Resultaten i denna avhandling visar att social kapital transformeras under pågående militär konflikt och antar särskilda former i övergångssamhällen som Ukraina. Det finns både positiva och negativa effekter på välbefinnande relaterat till volontärarbete under pågående samhällskris. Sambanden mellan social kapital och välbefinnande varierar för kvinnor och män till förmån för kvinnor. Vissa former av socialt kapital kan ha en starkare skyddande effekt för kvinnor än män i Ukraina. Resultaten visar också att socialt kapital fördelas ojämnt mellan män och kvinnor. Tillgången till socialt kapital kan betraktas som en indikator för socialt välbefinnande och socialt kapital kan därmed användas både som determinant och ett utfall i studier om socialt kapital, hälsa och välbefinnande.

Slutsats: Informellt socialt deltagande, dvs volontärarbete, kan spela en viktig roll i samhällskriser och behöver beaktas i såväl mätningar som interventioner av socialt kapital. Mätningar av socialt kapital i ”stabila” samhällen fångar nödvändigtvis inte dessa former av socialt kapital. Sambandet mellan social kapital och välbefinnande beror till stor det på vilka mått för socialt kapital som används. Eftersom socialt kapital har både positiva och negativa effekter på välbefinnande bör det tas i beaktande i forskning, policy och praxis för att kunna förhindra negativa effekter och främja de positiva effekterna. I Ukraina, liksom i andra samhällen, är socialt kapital en ojämn resurs för olika samhällsgrupper. Att minska klyftor mellan könen och inkomstgrupper skulle troligen påverka fördelningen av socialt kapital i samhället.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, 2017. p. 67
Series
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1933
Keywords
social capital, social support, volunteering, transformation, crisis, military conflict, transitional, well-being, health, inequality, Ukraine, socialt kapital, socialt stöd, volontärarbete, omvandling, kris, militär konflikt, övergångssamhälle, Ukraina, välbefinnande, hälsa, ojämlikhet
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Research subject
Public health
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-142089 (URN)978-91-7601-808-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-12-15, Sal 135, Allmänmedicin, byggnad 9A, Norrlands universitetssjukhus, Umeå, 09:00 (English)
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Supervisors
Available from: 2017-11-23 Created: 2017-11-20 Last updated: 2018-06-09Bibliographically approved

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Karhina, KaterynaGhazinour, MehdiNg, NawiEriksson, Malin

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