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Although there is evidence that divorce and volunteering are related, little is known about the process by which divorce affects volunteering. Using four-wave panel data spanning 16 years, this study examines the causal mechanisms underlying changes in volunteering following divorce. Results from estimating structural equation models indicated that divorce affects volunteering through different mechanisms for women and men. For women, increased financial strain explained a decline in volunteering after divorce. For men, decreased social integration measured by formal group participation accounted for a decline in volunteering after divorce. Domain-specific analyses further showed that decreased religious attendance following divorce explained a decline in religious volunteering and, at the same time, an increase in secular volunteering among men but not women. Men appear to switch their volunteering domains from religious to secular organizations after divorce.


Originally published in The Sociological Quarterly, 60:1, 138-167, DOI: 10.1080/00380253.2018.1526050