Open Access Research article

Exploring the ideal combination of activity satisfaction and burden among health promotion volunteers: a cross-sectional study in Japan

Hiroshi Murayama12*, Atsuko Taguchi3 and Sachiyo Murashima4

Author Affiliations

1 University of Michigan School of Public Health, 1415 Washington Heights, Ann Arbor, MI, 48109-2029, USA

2 Research Team for Social Participation and Community Health, Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology, 35-2 Sakae-cho, Itabashi-ku, Tokyo, 173-0015, Japan

3 Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, 2-1 Seiryo-machi, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi, 980-8575, Japan

4 Oita University of Nursing and Health Sciences, 2944-9 Megusuno, Oita City, Oita, 870-1201, Japan

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BMC Public Health 2013, 13:205  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-205

Published: 7 March 2013



Health promotion volunteers (HPVs) who are expected to function as leaders in promoting community health in Japan feel both satisfaction and burden associated with their community engagement activities. The purposes of this study were 1) to describe the prevalence of volunteers with differing levels of activity satisfaction and burden; 2) to examine the association between satisfaction and burden with activity involvement and persistence, and life satisfaction; and 3) to explore associated factors by satisfaction/burden levels among Japanese HPVs. The research question for this study was as follows: What is the relationship between activity satisfaction and burden among HPV?


A mail-in self-administered questionnaire survey was distributed to 604 HPVs in the cities of Konan and Koka, Shiga Prefecture, central Japan, in September 2005. Questions encompassed demographic data, variables regarding HPV activity such as organizational environment, social support, and the relationship with the neighborhood association, and overall satisfaction and burden related to the activity.


The analyzed sample comprised 422 HPVs. Those with high satisfaction/low burden represented the largest number of study participants (group A; 38.4%). HPVs with high satisfaction/high burden (group B), low satisfaction/low burden (group C), and low satisfaction/high burden (group D) represented 23.0%, 11.1%, and 27.5% of participants, respectively. HPVs in groups A and B reported a greater total number of activities undertaken than those in group C. However, HPVs in group A had higher life satisfaction than those in groups C and D. Multinomial logistic regression analysis used to explore group differences showed that HPVs in group B had lower initial motivation and received less social support from colleagues, and those in group C felt the head of the neighborhood association was uncooperative. Those in group D had lower initial motivation, rated their organizational climate as worse, and considered the head of the neighborhood association uncooperative compared with group A.


We found that feeling satisfied and lightly burdened facilitated HPVs’ active participation in community-based activities. Findings suggest the importance of improving activity environments surrounding HPVs.

Health promotion volunteer; Satisfaction; Burden; Activity environment; Japan