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 Amazingly flexible: Learning to read in your thirties profoundly transforms the brain
26.05.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Kognitions- und Neurowissenschaften

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stretchable biofuel cells extract energy from sweat to power wearable devices

22.08.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

New technique to treating mitral valve diseases: First patient data

22.08.2017 | Medical Engineering

IVAM Marketing Prize recognizes convincing technology marketing for the tenth time

22.08.2017 | Awards Funding

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>