Study in Detroit area shows giving is good for health

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It’s self-evident that helping others is helpful to those being helped. But a recent study¹ has found that giving – in the form of helping others – is also beneficial to the helper’s health and longevity.

The study looked at 846 subjects from the Detroit area. The subjects completed baseline interviews identifying stressful experiences in the previous year and whether or not they had helped others. Then newspaper obituaries and public records were monitored for participant mortality over the next five years.

The researchers concluded that “stress did not predict mortality risk among individuals who provided help to others in the past year…, but stress did predict mortality among those who did not provide help to others.”

A little confusing, perhaps, but the short of it is, the study says that givers – those who provided help to others – were shielded from the effects of stress that contribute to mortality. Doing good is good for health and longer life.

Perhaps the early Christians were on to this and this is one reason why the Christian New-Testament urges: “Let us not be weary in well-doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men…“²


¹  Study:  Giving to Others and the Association Between Stress and Mortality.  Am J Public Health. 2013 Jan 17. [Epub ahead of print]; Poulin MJ, Brown SL, Dillard AJ, Smith DM. Michael J. Poulin is with the Department of Psychology, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY. Stephanie L. Brown and Dylan M. Smith are with the Department of Preventive Medicine, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY. Amanda J. Dillard is with the Department of Psychology, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI. To read the press release from the University at Buffalo for this study, click here.
²  KJV Galations 6:9-10
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