Volunteers in an oncology support organization: Motivation, stress, and satisfactions

J. Remmer, L. Edgar, B. Rapkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Peer-led oncology support services are increasingly important as accessible and affordable adjuncts to medical care. Volunteers involved in these programs frequently have experienced cancer, either their own diagnosis or a family member's. This descriptive study explores the motivations, stress, and satisfaction of volunteers working in such a service. Using a framework developed by Omoto and Snyder, which identified three stages of the volunteer dynamic-the antecedents, experiences, and consequences-this study identified details about volunteers' motivations, their satisfactions, their relationship with the organization, and the effects of the work on them. Differences in motivations and stress were found between volunteers who had had a cancer diagnosis and those who had not. There was a high level of satisfaction and volunteer continuity, although the more veteran volunteers tended to be less satisfied. Key implications include the importance of a supportive work environment that satisfies motivations and attends to needs of the volunteer as well as the clientele. The authors offer suggestions for organizational structures that can promote volunteer continuity and thus effective provision of service.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-83
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Psychosocial Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Motivation
  • Peer-led oncology support
  • Satisfaction
  • Volunteers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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