Determinants of serving a mission: Senior volunteering among Latter-Day Saints.

H. Daniel Heist, Ram A. Cnaan, Benjamin J. Lough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Seniors moving into retirement choose volunteering as a way to participate in meaningful activities while continuing their personal beliefs and social ties. Seniors with religious affiliations often volunteer within their faith community. These volunteers offer invaluable services to their religious organizations and the other members of their faith that benefit from their assistance. Determining what forms of service to give is an important choice for senior volunteers. Factors that influence how seniors choose to volunteer in a religious community are not well understood. We surveyed 964 seniors who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints involved in three different forms of volunteering: in-church volunteering or “calling,” extensive local volunteering or “church-service mission,” and out-of-residency volunteering or “full-time mission.” We assess what resources allow seniors to perform “missions,” whether personality traits influence the decision to participate in this type of volunteering, how community embeddedness affects volunteer behavior, and how levels of religiosity correlate with volunteering behavior. Findings indicate that factors explaining whether Latter-day Saints choose to serve a mission in retirement are different from factors explaining the kind of mission one chooses to serve.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-159
Number of pages13
JournalPsychology of Religion and Spirituality
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Psychological Association


  • Latter-day Saints
  • missionaries
  • senior
  • volunteering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Religious studies
  • Applied Psychology


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