Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sustained Improvement Found In Health Of Experience Corps Tutors Over 55

Date:
March 16, 2009
Source:
Washington University in St. Louis
Summary:
Tutors over 55 who help young students on a regular basis experience positive physical and mental health outcomes, according to new studies.

Tutors over 55 who help young students on a regular basis experience positive physical and mental health outcomes, according to studies released by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

The tutors studied were members of Experience Corps, an award-winning organization that trains thousands of people over 55 to tutor children in urban public schools across the country.

Researchers at Washington University's Center for Social Development assessed the impact of the Experience Corps program on the lives of its members and found that, compared with adults of similar age, demographics and volunteer history, Experience Corps tutors reported improvements in mental health and physical functioning (including mobility, stamina and flexibility) and maintained overall health longer. In addition, Experience Corps members reported more physical activity, larger social networks and higher self-esteem as a result of their participation.

Other key findings:

  • The comparison group's levels of depression and functional limitations increased over a two-year period, while Experience Corps members experienced a significant decrease in both of those categories.
  • Both the comparison group and the Experience Corps group reported a decline in health over the two-year study period, but the Experience Corps members reported significantly less decline, suggesting that the program postpones age-related loss of health.
  • After a year with Experience Corps, about two-thirds of the least active members reported that they became significantly more physically active and more engaged in social and community events.
  • 84% of Experience Corps members report that their circle of friends — a key measure of social well-being, particularly for aging adults — increased as a result of their involvement in the program.
  • 86% of Experience Corps members say their lives have improved because of their involvement with the program.

A separate study released in the March issue of the Journal of Gerontology by researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine also found lasting, positive health impacts from participation in the program. The findings built on previous studies by the Hopkins researchers that have shown older adults who were physically inactive when they joined Experience Corps nearly doubled their activity level after just four to eight months of volunteering. The new Hopkins study found that for Experience Corps tutors in Baltimore — primarily African-American women over 60 — the women continued their increased level of activity for at least three years.

An earlier study, published by Johns Hopkins researchers in the Journal of Gerontology in January 2008, also found improvements in memory and executive function among Experience Corps tutors.

Lester Strong, CEO of Experience Corps, says the new research underscores the value of doing meaningful work in the second half of life. "Our members know that they are making a difference in the lives of students who desperately need academic help and encouragement. That keeps them going — and healthy."

  • Experience Corps members are diverse in many ways.
  • Age: The average age of Experience Corps members is 65, but the age range of members in this study extends from 50 to 87.
  • Race: About half (53%) of Experience Corps members are African American; 39% are white.
  • Background: One-third of Experience Corps members have some higher education, and one in five is a retired educator (teacher, professor, administrator or classroom assistant).Income: 20% of Experience Corps members earn less than $15,000 per year, while 15% earn more than $75,000 per year.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Washington University in St. Louis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Washington University in St. Louis. "Sustained Improvement Found In Health Of Experience Corps Tutors Over 55." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090316173429.htm>.
Washington University in St. Louis. (2009, March 16). Sustained Improvement Found In Health Of Experience Corps Tutors Over 55. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090316173429.htm
Washington University in St. Louis. "Sustained Improvement Found In Health Of Experience Corps Tutors Over 55." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090316173429.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Corporal punishment in the United States is on the decline, but there is renewed debate over its use after Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) In a small study, researchers found that the majority of long-time smokers quit after taking psilocybin pills and undergoing therapy sessions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins