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 Geographers provide new insight into commuter megaregions of the US
01.12.2016 | Dartmouth College

nachricht Sustainable Development Goals lead to lower population growth
30.11.2016 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Closing the carbon loop

08.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Applicability of dynamic facilitation theory to binary hard disk systems

08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Scientists track chemical and structural evolution of catalytic nanoparticles in 3-D

08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>