Volunteer Work and Disability: Impact on Social Representations and Health

  •  Sandrine Gaymard    
  •  Alexandra Chauvet    


Even if it is linked to the idea of giving, volunteer work constitutes an important productive resource but it also has a number of interests which are rarely examined in their concomitant actions. The aim of this study is to investigate social representation of disability and brain lesion and to check the impact of commitment to voluntary work on this representation. Firstly a group of 30 retired people interested in voluntary work who had no experience of brain damaged people, filled out a characterization questionnaire. Secondly after a period of voluntary work, a sample of 8 of these retired people redid the questionnaire. The results show an evolution with experience alongside this population. A few months later the volunteers filled out another questionnaire on the impact of volunteer work. The findings show they think that experience of volunteer work can change the way people see disability and that it has beneficial effects on their well-being.

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