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.
We sought to test the hypothesis that providing help to others predicts a reduced association between stress and mortality.
We examined data from participants (n = 846) in a study in the Detroit, Michigan, area. Participants completed baseline interviews that assessed past-year stressful events and whether the participant had provided tangible assistance to friends or family members. Participant mortality and time to death was monitored for 5 years by way of newspaper obituaries and monthly state death-record tapes.
When we adjusted for age, baseline health and functioning, and key psychosocial variables, Cox proportional hazard models for mortality revealed a significant interaction between helping behavior and stressful events (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.58; P < .05; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.35, 0.98). Specifically, stress did not predict mortality risk among individuals who provided help to others in the past year (HR = 0.96; 95% CI = 0.79, 1.18), but stress did predict mortality among those who did not provide help to others (HR = 1.30; P < .05; 95% CI = 1.05, 1.62).
Helping others predicted reduced mortality specifically by buffering the association between stress and mortality.
"Interventions often aim to provide something to individuals in distress; however, providing opportunities for giving help to others may be an innovative and mutually beneficial approach to improving health for the giver of help through better social engagement. Help given to others is a better predictor of health and well-being than are measures of social engagement or received social support (Poulin et al., 2013). The ability to contribute to one' s social network provides unique psychosocial benefits. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous studies have provided conflicting evidence on whether being a family caregiver is associated with increased or decreased risk for all-cause mortality. This study examined whether 3,503 family caregivers enrolled in the national Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) Study showed differences in all-cause mortality from 2003 to 2012 compared with a propensity-matched sample of noncaregivers. Caregivers were individually matched with 3,503 noncaregivers by using a propensity score matching procedure based on 15 demographic, health history, and health behavior covariates. During an average 6-year follow-up period, 264 (7.5%) of the caregivers died, which was significantly fewer than the 315 (9.0%) matched noncaregivers who died during the same period. A proportional hazards model indicated that caregivers had an 18% reduced rate of death compared with noncaregivers (hazard ratio = 0.823, 95% confidence interval: 0.699, 0.969). Subgroup analyses by race, sex, caregiving relationship, and caregiving strain failed to identify any subgroups with increased rates of death compared with matched noncaregivers. Public policy and discourse should recognize that providing care to a family member with a chronic illness or disability is not associated with increased risk of death in most cases, but may instead be associated with modest survival benefits for the caregivers.
American journal of epidemiology 10/2013; 178(10). DOI:10.1093/aje/kwt225 · 5.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: „Du musst dein Leben ändern!“ was bewirkt diese Anweisung bei Ihnen? Spüren Sie eine freudige Öffnung und Hinwendung zu dieser Aufforderung oder Rückzug?
Die Idee der Einführung eines landesweiten wöchentlichen Veggie Days ist ja unlängst grandios gescheitert und das, obwohl wir alle wissen, dass der Vorschlag kollektiv weniger Fleisch zu essen auf allen Ebenen sinnvoll ist: für die individuelle Gesundheit, den Ressourcenerhalt in der Natur, für die Verfügbarkeit von Nahrungsmitteln für uns Menschen, für den Klimaschutz und natürlich für die betroffenen Tiere. Die kollektive Ablehnung einer solchen „vernünftigen“ Idee macht etwas deutlich, das wir auch in der Arbeit mit Patienten erleben: Die Forderung „Du musst dein Leben ändern“ weckt eher Widerstand und Ablehnung, auch wenn die Inhalte der Forderung sinnvoll und umsetzbar sind. Menschen wollen diese Forderung meist nicht hören!
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