Volunteers are essential contributors to healthy communities. Issues relating to adult volunteering are extensively covered in scholarly literature. However, less attention has been paid to adolescents who volunteer, particularly in the Australian context. The majority of current literature focuses on socio-demographic factors associated with adolescent volunteering, with fewer studies examining other relevant factors, such as young people’s values and attitudes and the impact of other competing activities that young people engage in. This thesis therefore looks at a wide range of variables associated with volunteering, such as values, attitudes, and the impacts of participation in a range of activities. This thesis draws on data from 3,202 respondents aged 14 and 15, from the second wave of the ARC-sponsored longitudinal study entitled Social Futures and Life Pathways of Young People in Queensland (the ‘Our Lives’ project).
My study found that values of adolescents were important for volunteer involvement: those who value money are less likely to volunteer. However, participation in a religious youth group is more significantly associated with volunteering than whether adolescents value their religion. This, together with the significance of participation in a range of other school-based and outside-school activities, underscores the importance of networks and opportunities for volunteering. Overall, the results demonstrate that most of the socio-demographic factors previously associated with young people and volunteering are largely explained by other factors such as young people’s values and levels of engagement in a range of extra-curricular and outside-school activities.