Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Altruistic Actions May Result In Better Mental Health

Date:
October 20, 2003
Source:
Center For The Advancement Of Health
Summary:
People who offer love, listening and help to others may be rewarded with better mental health themselves, according to a new study of churchgoers in the September/October issue of Psychosomatic Medicine.

People who offer love, listening and help to others may be rewarded with better mental health themselves, according to a new study of churchgoers in the September/October issue of Psychosomatic Medicine.

The study is one of the first to track the positive health benefits of altruistic behavior, say Carolyn Schwartz, Sc.D., of the University of Massachusetts Medical School and colleagues.

"The findings really emphasize how helping others can help oneself," Schwartz says.

Schwartz and colleagues analyzed data collected by the Presbyterian Church for 2,016 congregation members. The members were asked about how often they "made others feel loved and cared for" and "listened to others" in the congregation, and how often they received this attention in return.

The members also answered survey questions about their mental and physical health. Most of the congregation members were in good physical and mental health to begin with, experiencing only normal levels of anxiety and depression.

While the researchers did not find any significant differences in physical health specifically related to giving and receiving help, they concluded that giving help was a better predictor of good mental health than receiving help.

But feeling overwhelmed by others' demands -- giving until it hurts -- can have negative psychological effects, according to the researchers.

"Although our findings suggest that people who help others experience better mental health, our findings also suggest that giving beyond one's own resources is associated with worse reported mental health," Schwartz says.

Church leaders, older individuals, women and those who took satisfaction from prayer were more likely to be helpers rather than receivers, according to Schwartz and colleagues.

People who give help to others may be less likely to focus inward on their own anxieties and depression or more apt to see their own troubles in perspective, leading to better mental health, say the researchers.

Alternatively, it may be that "people who are functioning well psychologically are better able and hence more likely to give help," Schwartz says.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Center For The Advancement Of Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Center For The Advancement Of Health. "Altruistic Actions May Result In Better Mental Health." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 October 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/10/031020054121.htm>.
Center For The Advancement Of Health. (2003, October 20). Altruistic Actions May Result In Better Mental Health. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/10/031020054121.htm
Center For The Advancement Of Health. "Altruistic Actions May Result In Better Mental Health." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/10/031020054121.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A new study says the season you're born in can determine your temperament — and one season has a surprising outcome. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Newsy (Oct. 17, 2014) In a ruling attorneys for both sides agreed was a first of its kind, a Georgia appeals court said parents can be held liable for what kids put online. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

Buzz60 (Oct. 17, 2014) Feeling down? Reach for the refrigerator, not the medicine cabinet! TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) shares some of the best foods to boost your mood. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

Newsy (Oct. 15, 2014) Researchers claim they’ve diagnosed the first example of the disorder in a 31-year-old U.S. Navy serviceman. 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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