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Spotlight Volunteer Participation

CDC Analysis shows volunteer participation is limited by arthritis.

Arthritis Restricts Volunteer Participation

12 million U.S. adults with arthritis are limited in or do not participate in volunteering because of arthritis.

Volunteering is an important role with considerable individual and societal benefits. A new CDC analysis shows that approximately one-third of U.S. adults aged 45 years or older with arthritis volunteer. Volunteering was highest among respondents with at least a college degree (47.1%) or who were employed (38.8%) and lowest among those with less than a high school education (16.2%) or unable to work because of disability (10.0%). Adults with arthritis ≥45 years old who do volunteer are similar to other volunteers in that volunteering is more common among women than men, lowest among those with low education, and least likely among those with fair or poor health.

Among volunteers, 41% (4.9 million) reported arthritis-attributable volunteer limitations in the type or amount of volunteering they do. Among those who do not volunteer, 27% (6.8 million) reported that arthritis is their main barrier to volunteering.

Limitations in volunteering are common among adults with arthritis. Individuals with restrictions in volunteering reported substantial burden of poor physical function and may benefit from effective, under-used interventions designed to improve physical function, delay disability, and enhance arthritis self-management. This in turn may allow them to participate in volunteer activities.


Theis KA, Murphy L, Hootman JM, Helmick CG, Sacks JJ. Arthritis restricts volunteer participation: prevalence and correlates of volunteer status among adults with arthritis. Arthritis Care & Research 2010;62(7):907–16. abstract


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