Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Altruistic actions may result in better mental health

20.10.2003


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.

Becky Ham | CAH
Further information:
http://www.hbns.org/
http://www.psychosomaticmedicine.org/

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Sibling differences: Later-borns choose less prestigious programs at university
14.11.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für demografische Forschung

nachricht Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ
09.11.2017 | Vanderbilt University

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Gecko adhesion technology moves closer to industrial uses

13.12.2017 | Information Technology

Columbia engineers create artificial graphene in a nanofabricated semiconductor structure

13.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Research reveals how diabetes in pregnancy affects baby's heart

13.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>