New Study Confirms Helping Others Is Good For You
As recently mentioned in our recent post 40 scientifically proven ways to be happier, helping others has again been shown to be good for well-being.
Researchers investigated the relationship between informal help and well-being and the underlying mechanisms:
From the standpoint of self-determination theory, helping others is good for well-being if it is intrinsically motivated, rather than driven by the expectation of reciprocity.
On the other hand (..) helping others is associated with a higher well-being when it is linked to the benefits of social conformity, such as social approval.
The researchers collected data from 23 countries in order to examine the emotional reward derived from helping others.
The researchers were also interested in examining the belief in reciprocity and the extent to which helping is socially appreciated in the given culture.
As suspected, the team found helping others was beneficial:
Our results suggest that on average, individuals helping others are more likely to report a higher level of life satisfaction than their less helpful counterparts
The researchers also found that individuals who provided help without the expectation of receiving help back were more satisfied that those who expected help back.
helping is more beneficial for an individual’s life satisfaction in cultural contexts where helping is socially approved than in cultural contexts where helping is not normative.
This connection was found to be linked:
Those who both helped others without expecting the help to be returned and lived in a country with a strong norm to help were the happiest participants.
So while confirming that helping others is indeed an important predictor of well-being it also sheds new light on the circumstances when this effect thrives.