Marketing public health through older adult volunteering: Experience corps as a social marketing intervention

Erwin J. Tan, Elizabeth K. Tanner, Teresa E. Seeman, Qlan Li Xue, George W. Rebok, Kevin D. Frick, Michelle C. Carlson, Tao Wang, Rachel L. Piferi, Sylvia McGill, Keith E. Whitfield, Linda P. Fried

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Objectives. We present a social marketing conceptual framework for Experience Corps Baltimore City (EC) in which the desired health outcome is not the promoted product or behavior. We also demonstrate the feasibility of a social marketing-based recruitment campaign for the first year of the Baltimore Experience Corps Trial (BECT), a randomized, controlled trial of the health benefits of EC participation for older adults. Methods. We recruited older adults from the Baltimore, MD, area. Participants randomized to the intervention were placed in public schools in volunteer roles designed to increase healthy behaviors. We examined the effectiveness of a recruitment message that appealed to generativity (i.e., to make a difference for the next generation), rather than potential health benefits. Results. Among the 155 participants recruited in the first year of the BECT, the average age was 69 years; 87% were women and 85% were African American. Participants reported primarily generative motives as their reason for interest in the BECT. Conclusions. Public health interventions embedded in civic engagement have the Dotential to enaaae older adults who might not respond to a direct appeal to improve their health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)727-734
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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