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Altruism, Happiness and Health among Elderly People

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  • M.S. College, BRAB University, Bihar, India

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The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship among altruism, happiness and general health of elderly people. The sample comprised of 153 (M = 84, F = 69) elderly people, age ranging between 60 to 75 years. The data were collected using Self Report Altruism Scale, Oxford Happiness Questionnaire and GHQ-30. The results revealed significant gender difference in the scores of altruism but no statistically significant differences were found in the scores of happiness and health. Further results indicated that among elderly people altruism and happiness were positively correlated with each other, whereas altruism and happiness were negatively correlated with health. It was also found that altruism and happiness both predicted health of the elderly people but happiness was found to be stronger predictor of health.
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Indian Journal of Gerontology
2017, Vol. 31, No. 4, pp. 480–496
Altruism, Happiness and Health among
Elderly People
Arun Kumar and Vidushi Dixit*
Department of Psychology, Central University of Haryana,
Mahandergarh (Haryana)
*Department of Psychology, Banasthali University, Banasthali
(Rajasthan)
ABSTRACT
The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship among
altruism, happiness and general health of elderly people. The sample
comprised of 153 (M = 84, F = 69) elderly people, age ranging
between 60 to 75 years. The data were collected using Self Report
Altruism Scale, Oxford Happiness Questionnaire and GHQ – 30.
The results revealed significant gender difference in the scores of
altruism but no statistically significant differences were found in
the scores of happiness and health. Further results indicated that
among elderly people altruism and happiness were positively corre-
lated with each other, whereas altruism and happiness were
negatively correlated with health. It was also found that altruism
and happiness both predicted health of the elderly people but
happiness was found to be stronger predictor of health.
Key Words: Altruism, Elderly, Happiness and Health.
During the last two decades the phenomenon of population
ageing is becoming a major concern all over the world, for both
developed and developing countries. But the problems arising out of it
will have varied implications for underdeveloped, developing and
developed countries. For a developing country like India, this may
pose mounting pressures on various socio-economic fronts, multiple
medical and psychological problems including pension outlays, saving
levels, health care, well-being, etc. There is an emerging need to pay
greater attention to ageing-related issues and dealing with the ageing
society.
Old age consists of ages nearing or surpassing the average life span
of human beings. Government of India adopted ‘National Policy on
Older Persons’ and it defines ‘senior citizen’ or ‘elderly’ as a person
who is of age 60 years or above. According to Erikson’s theory human
personality is developed in a series of eight stages that take place from
the time of birth and continue throughout an individual’s complete
life. In the theory old age has been characterized as a period during
which a person focuses on reflecting back on his life. Those who are
unsuccessful during this phase feel that their life has been wasted and
experience many regrets. Those who feel proud of their accomplish-
ments feel a sense of integrity. Successfully completing this phase
means looking back with few regrets and a general feeling of satis-
faction. These individuals attain wisdom, even when confronting
death. The way a person adapts and copes, reflects his aging process on
a psycho-social level.
The above description indicates that there is a need to explore
what measures would ease the burden of ageing in Indian society and
what initiatives could mitigate the burden borne by the aged and the
society. This question compelled the researcher to think how
psychosocial resources can help in improving the well-being of older
adults. The literature reveals that altruistic emotions and behaviors are
associated with greater well-being, health and longevity of elderly. So,
the researcher planned the study to explore the concepts of altruism,
happiness and health among the elderly people of India.
Certain factors predispose to experience emotional empathy,
these include having a pro-social personality profile (Oliner & Oliner,
1988) and having internalized pro-social values through the process of
socialization (Staub, 1974). The foremost understanding of altruism is
that it is regarded as doing something for others without a motive of
self interest or self gain and one does not have a stake in the outcome of
the act. Behavior is motivated by altruism. Altruistic motivation is
defined by the intention of improving another person’s situation, for
Altruism, Happiness and Health among Elderly People 481
that reason alone and not for ulterior self serving motives. The altru-
istic motive is distinct from egoistic motives which may also energise
helpful behavior. Altruistic motivation is evoked in many instances by
empathic emotion rather than the egoistic motives (Batson, et al.,
1991).
In a study it was found that formal volunteering moderated the
loss of a sense of purpose among older adults who had experienced the
loss of major role identities, such as wage-earner and parent (Green-
field & Marks, 2004). In another study it was found that participation
in community service was more strongly correlated with life satis-
faction for retirees than for those individuals who continued to work
for pay (Harlow & Cantor, 1996). New York community found that
those women who had volunteered on an intermittent basis from the
time they married until the age of 55 had higher functional ability and
were more likely to occupy multiple roles in later years, indicating
greater social integration than their counterparts. At the same time, a
negative relation was found between paid work, care giving and health
(Moen, et al., 1992). Therefore, while studying altruism among elderly
people happiness was the other important concept to be studied.
Diener used the term subjective well being as synonym for
happiness. Modern western psychology has focused primarily on a
post materialistic view of happiness (Diener, et al., 2002, 2009) that
emphasizes pleasure, satisfaction and meaning in life. Seligman (2002)
suggested that a pleasant and meaningful life can be built on the
happiness that results from using the psychological strengths.
Happiness is a positive emotional state that is subjectively defined by
each person. Aristotle believed that eudaimonia or a lifelong pursuit of
meaningful developmental goals was the key to the good life
(Waterman, 1993). Theories of happiness have been divided into three
types: Need/goal satisfaction theories, process/activity theories and
genetic/personality predisposition (Diener, et al., 2009).
Research shows that unselfish individuals will find life to be more
meaningful, will usually be happier than their selfish counterparts,
have reduced mortality rates and often experience better mental as
well as physical health (Van Willigen, 2000). There is, however, an
obvious caution that those who allow themselves to be overwhelmed
by care giving often suffer from the stressful burden of care (Ibid.).
482 Indian Journal of Gerontology
Studies conclude that an individual can live a generous life, without
concern for reputational gains and as a by-product discover deeper
relationships, happiness, health and even longevity (Post, 2005). A
strong correlation exists between the well-being, happiness, health and
longevity of people who are emotionally and behaviorally compas-
sionate (Bergsma, et al., 2009). Another study found that, in general,
volunteers report greater life satisfaction and better physical health
than do non-volunteers, and their life satisfaction and physical health
improves at a greater rate as a result of volunteering. It was also found
that older volunteers experience greater increases in life satisfaction
and greater positive changes in their perceived health as a result of
their volunteer activities than do younger volunteers (Van Willigen,
2000). These studies compelled to include the concept of health along
with the concepts of altruism and happiness in the study.
Any deviation from a person’s normal self-defined healthy sate of
feeling and functioning suggests that he/she is not healthy. The World
Health Organization adopted a comprehensive view of health in 1946,
stating that health is the state of complete physical, mental and social
well-being and is not merely the absence of disease of infirmity
(WHO, 1946). People commonly think about health in terms of an
absence of subjective symptoms of disease or injury, such as pain or
nausea or objective signs that the body is not functioning properly
such as measured high blood pressure (Birren & Zarit, 1985; Thoresen,
1984). But illness and wellness are not entirely separate concepts. They
overlap, with increasing degrees of wellness and of illness varying
along a continuum with a neutral status in middle while at the
opposite ends are optimal wellness and death (Sarafino, 2002). Thus,
the term health refers to a range of positive states of physical, mental
and social well being and not just the absence of injury or disease.
The exhaustive literature reveals large number of studies related
to altruism and health. A study followed a group of older couples for
five years and found that individuals who reported providing
substantial forms of help to friends, relatives, and neighbors reduced
their risk of dying by about one half during the study period,
compared with individuals who reported providing no help to others.
In addition, people who reported providing high amounts of
emotional support to their spouse were also about half as likely to die
Altruism, Happiness and Health among Elderly People 483
during the study period, compared with people who reported
providing relatively lower amounts of emotional support. Receiving
support had no influence on mortality but giving to others accounted
for some of the health benefits of social contact.
Another study examined whether giving is protective for widows
(Brown, et al., 2003). Results demonstrated that (a) widows who gave
instrumental support to others were less likely to have their grief
develop into depressive symptoms and those who increased their
amount of giving had lower levels of depressive symptoms as
compared to their non-altruistic counterparts. Similarly results of
another survey of a large, ethnically diverse sample of older adults
showed no association between receiving social support and improved
health; however, the study did find that those who gave social support
to others had lower rates of mortality than those who did not, (Brown,
et al., 2005). Similar study found that providing support had a stronger
relationship with longevity than receiving support from others
(Brown, et al., 2003). The data from the Longitudinal Study of Aging
on respondents 70 years or older, found that those individuals who
volunteer had lower mortality rates than those who did not. Results
also indicated that the positive effect of volunteering was stronger for
those in good health (Sabin, 1993; Musick, et al., 1999). Volunteering
was found to contribute more to lower mortality rates than high
religious involvement or perceived social support (Oman, et al., 1999).
There did not appear to be any additional benefits to health as the
number of volunteer hours increased beyond 100 hours (Lum &
Lightfoot, 2005; Luoh & Herzog, 2002). Another study of 65 and older
found that the positive effect of volunteering on physical and mental
health was due to the personal sense of accomplishment that an
individual gains from his or her volunteer activities (Herzog, et al.,
1998). One study found that volunteering among older adults (age 60
and over) provided benefits to both physical and mental health, while
similar correlations were not found for mid-life adults who volunteer.
It was also found that while depression is a barrier to volunteer partici-
pation in mid-life adults, it serves as a catalyst for volunteering among
older adults, who may seek to compensate for role losses and atten-
uated social relations that occur with aging (Li & Ferraro, 2006). The
484 Indian Journal of Gerontology
existing literature indicates links between aspects of social network
functioning and health outcomes. It is generally believed that
networks that are larger or provide greater instrumental and
emotional support contribute to improved health and, perhaps,
greater longevity. Recently, it has been suggested that giving as well as
receiving social support may be of benefit. In another study it was
found that both kin and non kin giving was associated with improved
health (Brown, et al., 2005).
Impressive findings can be summarized from the above studies
that have explored the relationship between volunteering and health.
While these studies may differ in terms of their specific findings, they
consistently demonstrate that there is a significant relationship
between volunteering and good health; when individuals volunteer,
they not only help their community but also experience better health
in later years, whether in terms of greater longevity, higher functional
ability, or lower rates of depression (Grimm, et al., 2007).
The review of literature reveals that researches have been
conducted to know the pattern of altruism, happiness and health in
general, but very few researches were found that could explain the
relationship among these three together. As stated in the beginning
that major issues related to the elderly people in the country require
attention, the present study was planned to explore the relationship
among these three important concepts of positive psychology specifi-
cally with reference to elderly people.
The major objectives of the study were-
1. To investigate the role of gender on altruism, happiness and
health among elderly people.
2. To know the inter correlation of altruism, happiness and health
and
3. To investigate the impact of altruism, happiness on health among
elderly people.
On the basis of above mentioned objectives, following
hypotheses were formulated-
H0: There is no gender difference on the measures of altruism,
happiness and health among elderly people.
Altruism, Happiness and Health among Elderly People 485
H1: There is positive correlation among altruism, happiness and
health of elderly people.
H2: Altruism and happiness are predictors of health among elderly
people.
Method
Sample
The sample was selected from urban society, residing in Delhi.
Participants consisted of 153 randomly selected subjects 84 males and
69 females with age range from 60 to 75 years, who volunteered to
participate in the study.
Tools
Three scales were used in the study. The description of the scales
is as follows:
1. Self-Report Altruism scale: The scale was developed by Rushton, et
al., (1981). It was a 20 question self-report inventory in which
participants choose between five categories ranging from ‘never’,
‘once’, ‘more than once’, ‘often’ to ‘very often’. The questions
were answered by selecting a category that conforms to the
frequency with which participants carried out specific acts.
Higher scores on this scale indicate higher frequency in executing
specific acts. The reliability of the scale was assessed and yielded a
significant inter-rater reliability of r (78) = +0.51 (P < 0.01) for
the peer rated-SRA-scale altruism scores and r (78) = +0.39 (P <
0.01) for the peer-rated-global altruism measure. The internal
consistency of the 20-item peer rating form was also calculated
and found to be extremely high (~ = 0.89, N = 416). The corre-
lation between peer-rated-SRA-scale altruism and
peer-rated-global altruism was r (86) = 0.54 (P < 0.001). The
validity of the SRA-scale was assessed by correlating it with the
peer ratings. The correlations between the SRA-scale and
peer-rated-SRA-scale altruism and peer-rated global-altruism were
r (86) = 0.35 (P < 0.001) and r (86) = 0.21 (P < 0.05), respec-
tively (Ibid.).
486 Indian Journal of Gerontology
2. The Oxford Happiness Questionnaire (OHQ): Questionnaire was
developed by Hills and Argyle (2002) at Oxford University.
OHQ consists of 29 items to be answered on a six-point Likert
scales ranging from strongly disagree to strongly agree. Out of 29,
12 Items (1,5,6,10,13,14,19,23,24,27,28,29) were negatively
scored. High scores imply higher degree of happiness. In a series
of comparative tests between the OHI and the OHQ, the
aggregate scores of both measures were strongly correlated, and
both measures demonstrated high scale and item reliabilities. All
cross-scale correlations between corresponding items were highly
significant and for the large majority of items the correlations
were strong. The construct validity of the OHI has previously
been established by the associations of the measure with a variety
of individual differences in trait and cognitive variables. These
associations were compared for both the OHI and OHQ. All
were equally and highly significant and, with the exception of an
equal association with extraversion, those for the OHQ were
stronger. In terms of construct validity, the OHQ appears to be
the preferred measure (Hills & Argyle, 2002).
3. General Health Questionnaire (GHQ–30): The scale was developed
as a method to quantify the risk of developing psychiatric
disorders. The instrument targets the inability to carry out the
normal functions and the appearance of distress as well as to assess
well-being in a person. GHQ–30 contained 30 statements
reflecting the mental state (i.e. depressive moods, sleeping
problems, and anxiety), social functioning and well-being, and
coping abilities of the participant. The questionnaire included
questions about the perceived overall health and perceptions of
anxiety, sadness, helplessness, and loneliness. Fifteen of the state-
ments were negatively worded and remaining 15 were positively
worded. A four-point Likert-type scoring system was used for
each statement, ranging from less than usual to much more than
usual. The minimum score was 0 and the maximum score was 90.
Higher scores reflect more declined mental health. Among the
several versions of the GHQ, the GHQ–30 is shown to be the
most stable and have the highest validity.
Altruism, Happiness and Health among Elderly People 487
Procedure
All three questionnaires were prepared in Hindi as well as in
English and integrated as one booklet. The participants were given
appropriate separate instructions for all three questionnaires.
According to the objectives of the study, the data were collected,
scored and analyzed using SPSS–16.
Results
Table 1
Mean, SD and F-value on the measures of altruism, happiness and health
among Elderly people
Variables N Mean S.D. F
Altruism Male 84 37.92 15.67 9.381*
Female 69 31.30 9.68
Total 153 34.94 13.67
Happiness Male 84 20.34 3.32 1.058
Female 69 20.88 3.20
Total 153 20.58 3.27
Health Male 84 25.53 13.61 .903
Female 69 27.65 13.82
Total 153 26.49 13.70
*p<.05
Table 1 shows that on the measure of altruism, males (M=37.92,
SD=15.67) scored higher than females (M=31.30, SD=9.68) and the
difference was significant with respect to gender (F= 9.381, p<.05).
Whereas on the measures of happiness and health no statistically
significant differences were found.
Table 2
Pearson correlation among altruism, happiness and health
Measures Altruism Happiness Health
Altruism .321** –.389**
Happiness – –.491**
Health – – –
** p<.01
Table shows that altruism and happiness were positively corre-
lated with each other, whereas the correlation between altruism and
488 Indian Journal of Gerontology
health as well as happiness and health were found to be negative. All
the correlations were highly significant.
Table 3
Summary table of Stepwise regression on altruism, happiness and health
Predictor variable bR R square Adjusted R
square
R square
change
F
Happiness –.408 .548 .300 .291 .241 32.212**
Altruism –.258 .060
Criterion variable: Health
**p<.01
The summary table of stepwise regression revealed a highly
significant model (F=32.212, p<.01) for the value of health, which
explained 29.1 per cent of the variance (Adjusted R2= .291). In the
model happiness (b= –.408) and altruism (b= –.258) emerged as the
predictors for health.
Discussion
Global Age Watch Index (2013) released the rankings, based on
data from the World Health Organization and other agencies on older
people’s incomes, health, education, employment and their environ-
ments. According to this survey report, India stands a dismal 73rd in
the list of 91 countries (UN Report, 2013). External circumstances
affect well-being, but actions and attitudes also have considerable
influence. Interventions which encourage positive actions and
attitudes have an important role to play in enhancing well-being.
Keeping this in view present study was designed to explore the
relationship among altruism, happiness and health in elderly people of
India. For this purpose, three hypotheses were formulated. The first
hypothesis stated that there will be no gender difference on the
measures of altruism, happiness and health of the elderly people. The
analysis revealed significant gender difference between males and
females on the measure of altruism, whereas in case of happiness and
general health, no significant gender differences were found. On the
basis of this result, it can be concluded that the null hypothesis was
partially accepted. This indicates that the responses of elderly people
Altruism, Happiness and Health among Elderly People 489
differed on the measure of altruism but were approximately same on
the measures of happiness and health.
Due to lack of available relevant literature on gender effects of
elderly people on altruism, happiness and health, no concrete expla-
nation can be given. Possibly, demographic and psycho-social factors
might be one of the reasons accounting for the obtained difference.
Secondly, altruism is defined as doing something for others without a
motive of self interest and also one does not has any stake in the
outcome of the act, so according to this it might be possible that due to
age factor, females avoid indulging in risk taking behaviors for the
betterment of others. Besides this, helping depends on the kind of
altruistic acts. Females of 60 and above age cannot volunteer helping
others in every manner. They have certain limitations due to their age,
lack of availability of resources, physical constraints, etc.
As the hypothesis was partially accepted i.e. no gender differences
were found on the measures of happiness and health among elderly
people. Due to lack of available relevant literature the possible expla-
nations are that according to psychologists, happiness has been defined
to be subjective feeling, therefore gender alone cannot influence
happiness. There are lot many other factors that might influence
happiness such as the economic status, family preferences, personality,
coping and adjustment strategies, life orientation, social recognition,
etc. Possibly, in the age of 60 and above, the life preferences of elderly
people might dominate in comparison to their gender, so this is why
no gender differences were found in the measures of happiness.
Similarly, health refers to a range of positive states of physical,
mental and social well-being and not just the absence of injury or
disease. Therefore, similar to happiness, it might be that health is also
not influenced by gender alone to the extent other factors influence it.
Possibly, the physical health depends upon the economic status, avail-
ability of medical facilities, etc. whereas mental and social well-being
depends on the factors similar to happiness. Therefore these factors
might be the reason why gender based differences were not found
among elderly people.
490 Indian Journal of Gerontology
Further it was found that there was significant positive corre-
lation between altruism and happiness. It implies that those who help
others are happier. Researchers concluded that helping others leads to
higher levels of happiness though the existing evidence only weakly
supports this causal claim. Happier people give more and giving makes
people happier, such that happiness and giving may operate in a
positive feedback loop (with happier people giving more, getting
happier, and giving even more). While offering donors monetary or
material incentives for giving may undermine generosity in the
long-term, the preliminary research suggests that advertising the
emotional benefits of prosocial behavior may leave these benefits
intact and might even encourage individuals to give more (Anik, et al.,
2012). It has also been found that human beings around the world
derive emotional benefits from using their financial resources to help
others.
Altruism, including kindness, generosity, and compassion are
keys to the social connections that are important for happiness.
Research finds that acts of kindness can boost happiness in the person
doing the good deed. The probable reason could be that being
generous leads to perceive others more compassionately. Being kind to
others can start a chain reaction of positivity, promotes a sense of
connection with others, which is one of the strongest factors in
increasing happiness. Being generous helps to appreciate and feel
grateful for one’s own good fortune, it boosts the self-image, helps to
feel useful and gives ways to use the strengths and talents in a
meaningful way. Most psychologists accept that helping others
reduces aversive arousal, avoids guilt, shame or social punishment, and
obtains praise, honor, sense of pride or personal joy that lead person
with feelings of happiness (Batson, et al., 1991). Being kind and
compassionate is linked to greater happiness, greater levels of physical
activity in old age and longevity.
The other hypothesis which stated to obtain a positive corre-
lation among altruism, happiness and health of elderly people was also
partially accepted as correlation between altruism and health were
found to be significantly negative whereas significant negative corre-
lation was found between happiness and health also. Some of the
Altruism, Happiness and Health among Elderly People 491
studies show that if people get overextended and overwhelmed by
helping tasks, as can happen with people who are caregivers to family
members, their health and quality of life can rapidly decline. It seems
being generous from an abundance of time, money, and energy can
promote well-being but being sacrificial quickly depletes (Post, 2005).
This seems to be a good argument for communities sharing the burden
for everyone’s benefit.
Similarly, happiness is generally considered a source of good
outcomes. Researchers have highlighted the ways in which happiness
facilitates the pursuit of important goals, contributes to vital social
bonds, broadens people’s scope of attention, and increases well-being
and psychological health. However, happiness is not always a good
thing. The review suggests that the pursuit and experience of
happiness might sometimes lead to negative outcomes. Cumulatively,
research suggests that although happiness is often highly beneficial, it
may not be beneficial at every level, in every context, but the majority
of the existing literature concludes contradictory findings in
comparison to the findings of the present study. A study found that
psychological well-being was associated with flexible and creative
thinking, pro-social behavior, and good physical health. Similarly,
another study found that altruism and cognitive reserve (CR) were
associated with better health and well-being. Another study of the
longitudinal data found a positive relationship between volunteering
activities and better health outcomes among adults over the age of 60,
including higher levels of self-reported health and physical
functioning, and lower levels of depression.
Further inferential analysis revealed that happiness and altruism
were predictors of health, happiness being a stronger predictor of
health. The findings highlight the value of altruistic attitudes as
important additional predictors, along with happiness in fostering
health in old age. The last hypothesis stated that altruism and
happiness will predict health among elderly people. The obtained F
value was highly significant which shows that the model hypothesized
in the beginning was found to be appropriate. This indicates that
among elderly people happiness and altruism both are influential,
wherein the role of happiness is more effective. As stated earlier health
492 Indian Journal of Gerontology
not only refers to the absence of disease or injury but is also influenced
by physical, mental and social factors. Similar findings were obtained
in the present study also. Therefore, happiness and altruism together
contribute to the health of elderly people.
On the basis of findings of the present study, it can be concluded
that altruism and happiness play important role in the lives of elderly
people with respect to their health. Therefore, specific measures must
be taken to improve the levels of these factors among elderly people as
these are vital for the betterment of elderly people in all human
societies.
Limitations & Suggestions
The study was conducted on a small sample of a limited
population. Along with this the data in the study were collected using
limited psychological variables and quantitative method only.
Therefore, further studies could be planned by eliminating these
limitations so that the findings can be generalized on a broader level.
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... Sin embargo, tenemos la capacidad racional y de aprendizaje para incluir a todos en la esfera del altruismo que, junto con la ayuda y la cooperación, son comportamientos prosociales que favorecen la felicidad propia y de los otros. La literatura y la evidencia empírica revelan que el altruismo está asociado con la felicidad (enmarcada en el bienestar subjetivo), la salud física y mental, la adaptación social y la reducción de la agresividad (Kumar y Dixit, 2017;Feng et al., 2020). Después de todo, uno se siente bien cuando consigue que otro deje de sentirse mal (Morales, 2000). ...
... La felicidad es un estado emocional positivo subjetivamente definido por cada uno (Kumar y Dixit, 2017). La satisfacción con la vida es un componente evaluativo (cognitivo) de la calidad de vida; es la comparación entre lo esperado y lo obtenido (Yelpaze y Yakar, 2020). ...
... La trascendencia del vínculo entre altruismo y felicidad (o bienestar subjetivo) estriba en que refleja cómo pensamos de la naturaleza y de la realización humanas (Kumar y Dixit, 2017). Esta dualidad comparte la disposición interior duradera acompañada de una visión particular del mundo, una manera diferente de ver las cosas. ...
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Happiness at work is a mystified topic that is commonly associated with the concept of job satisfaction. However, the antecedents, consequences, phenomenology, and management of happiness at the workplace are research areas that still need in-depth scrutiny. Subjective as it is, happiness at work is associated with positive-tone attitudes (i.e., affective commitment), individual differences (i.e., age), time perspectives, altruism, and pro-social behaviors. Of course, the concept of happiness at work is a phenomenon, and a concept, that is idoneous for the exploration and interpretation of personal experiences and meaning. No matter if in the context of traditional organizational forms (e.g., formal, for-profit) or in less conventional organizational arrangements (e.g., social enterprise), contentment, bliss, and happiness at work need to be better understood if we are to enrich modern life, promote individual and social well-being, and foster organizational effectiveness.
... The literature on mental and physical health suggests that volunteers suffer less from clinical depression and are healthier and happier than non-volunteers (see Post 2005;Dulin and Hill 2003). Similarly, Kumar and Dixit (2017) find a positive correlation between happiness and 4 Volunteering in the United States, 2015. Online source: https://www.bls.gov/news.release/volun.nr0.htm 5 "New Report: Service Unites Americans; Volunteers Give Service Worth $184 Billion," the Corporation for National and Community Service. ...
... A negative association between happiness and unemployment is well documented in the literature on the economics of happiness. However, Kumar and Dixit (2017) and Dulin and Hill (2003) do not control for the socioeconomic determinants of happiness, such as income and unemployment. Borgonovi (2008) also demonstrates that formal volunteering, particularly religion-related volunteering, is associated with greater happiness. ...
... We use two variables to measure prosocial activity: (1) volunteer work and (2) charitable monetary donation. Unlike Kumar and Dixit (2017) and Dulin and Hill (2003), we control for socioeconomic determinants of happiness. By estimating an ordered logit model with regional fixed effects, we suggest that neither volunteer work nor charitable donation is strongly associated with subjective well-being. ...
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This paper uses an ordinal logit model estimated using data from four waves of the General Social Survey to examine the robustness of the purported relationship between happiness and the prosocial giving of time or money. Results from our study imply that the standard economic variables are more important than giving or donating; income is positively associated with happiness, while unemployment in the past ten years is negatively associated with happiness. We find evidence that happiness is more closely correlated with volunteering than with donating money. Finally, this study suggests that volunteering and charitable donation are only loosely associated with happiness after controlling for socioeconomic factors, such as income, unemployment, race, and gender.
... Sejalan dengan hal tersebut hasil penelitian lain yang berjudul "Altruism, Happiness and Health pamong Elderly People" mengatakan bahwa altruisme dan kebahagiaan memiliki hubungan positif tetapi altruisme memiliki hubungan yang negatif (Kumar, A., & Dixit, 2017). Berdasarkan temuantemuan di atas dapat disimpulkan bahwa altruisme memiliki hubungan positif dengan perasaan bahagia. ...
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Penelitian ini bertujuan untuk mengetahui pengaruh altruisme terhadap kebahagiaan pada mahasiswa Fakultas Psikologi UIN Malang 2018 yang menghadapi skripsi. Metode pada penelitian ini menggunakan metode kuantitatif dengan jumlah sampel sebanyak 104 orang. Dalam pengumpulan data penelitian peneliti menggunakan instrumen Self Report Altruism (SRA) dan Oxford Happiness Questionare (OHQ). Metode yang digunakan untuk analisis data yaitu uji deskriptif, uji normalitas, uji linearitas dan uji regresi linear sederhana dengan bantuan program Microsoft excel 2010 for Windows dan IMB SPSS versi 25.0 for Windows. Berdasarkan hasil perhitungan statistik didapatkan hasil bahwa nilai signifikansi sebesar 0,3 atau 30%. Hal ini berarti bahwa pengaruh variabel bebas (altruisme) terhadap variabel terikat (kebahagiaan) adalah sebesar 30%. Artinya terdapat pengaruh signifikan altruisme terhadap kebahagiaan, semakin tinggi tingkat altruisme seseorang maka semakin tinggi pula kebahagiaan yang akan dirasakan. Sampel yang digunakan dalam penelitian ini hanya berasal dari Fakultas Psikologi UIN Malang angkatan 2018 sehingga hasil yang didapat mungkin akan menimbulkan perbedaan apabila dilakukan pada Universitas atau organisasi lainnya, oleh karena itu diperlukan penelitian dengan menggunakan kelompok sampel berbeda baik itu dari segi jenis kelamin, usia dan demografi.
... Philanthropy is very popular activities among elderlies. The elderlies tend to participate more if it related to philanthropy (Hatter and Neilson, 1987) and altruism behaviour is associated with greater well-being (Kumar and Dixit, 2017). Altruism features in OCB theory matches well in this case study as one of the elements of Intrinsic Motivations. ...
... In this context, it is an expected finding that spiritual values have a high frequency level in advanced adults. Kumar and Dixit (2017), on the other hand, state that altruism, which is among the character strengths, is associated with a meaningful life in advanced adulthood. ...
... Previous studies highlighted psychological distress and subjective well-being among Indian older adults. However, limited research is attributed to the gender differential in psychological health and subjective well-being in relation to childless ageing [3,30]. In the beginning, this paper hypothesized that there would be no gender differences in psychological health and subjective well-being among older adults in India. ...
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Background Gender and health are two factors that shape the quality of life in old age. Previous available literature established an associaton between various demographic and socio-economic factors with the health and well-being of older adults in India; however, the influence of childless aged is neglected. Therefore, the study examined the gender differential in psychological health and subjective well-being among older adults, focusing on childless older adults. Methodology This study utilized data from Building a Knowledge Base on Population Aging in India (BKPAI). Psychological health and subjective well-being were examined for 9541 older adults aged 60 years & above. Descriptive statistics and bivariate analysis were used to find the preliminary results. Further, multivariate analysis has been done to fulfill the objective of the study. Results Around one-fifth (21.2%) of the men reported low psychological health, whereas around one-fourth (25.5%) of the women reported low psychological health. Further, around 24 per cent of men and 29 per cent of women reported low subjective well-being. Results found that low psychological well-being (OR = 1.87, C.I. = 1.16–3.01), as well as low subjective well-being (OR = 1.78, C.I. = 1.15–2.76), was higher in childless older women than in childless older men. Higher education, community involvement, good self-rated health, richest wealth quintile, and residing in urban areas significantly decrease the odds of low subjective well-being and low psychological well-being among older adults. Conclusion There is a need to improve older adults’ psychological health and subjective well-being through expanded welfare provisions, especially for childless older adults. Moreover, there is an immediate requirement to cater to the needs of poor and uneducated older adults.
... Altruism (doing something for others without a motive of selfinterest or self-gain and one does not have a stake in the outcome of the act) is positively linked to better health (Kumar and Dixit, 2017, p. 481). In their study of older people in India, Kumar and Dixit (2017) found that altruism and happiness both predicted self-reported levels of health. This makes the focus on social capital within health promotion, and the importance to health of 'connectedness', seem well placed. ...
Chapter
This book contains 6 chapters that aims to: (i) explore what health promotion is and be critical of it; (ii) set out key ideas in health promotion and explore the discourse surrounding it; (iii) introduce key thinkers in the field and discuss the relevance and application of their ideas; (iv) provide a theoretical basis for health promotion practice; (v) ask some challenging questions and encourage our readers to do the same; and lastly (vi) comment on the state of academic health promotion.
... A previous study with older adults indicated significant gender differences in relation to altruism but no statistically significant differences were found in the scores of happiness and health; however, further results indicated that altruism and happiness were positively correlated, whereas altruism and happiness were negatively correlated with health. Additionally, these outcomes also indicated that altruism and happiness both predicted health of old people but happiness was found to be a stronger predictor of health (Kumar and Dixit 2017). ...
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The current trends in psychology focus on the strength and impact of positive virtues on human behavior and their ability to make an individual more resourceful and efficient. The present study assesses the relationship between gratitude and altruism in order to throw light upon how being grateful might make a person more willing to be concerned for others and put that concern in his behaviors. The present research has also explored the mediating effect of happiness on altruism and gratitude. The research was conducted on 100 emerging adults, including 50 males and 50 females. The psychological tools included Self-Report Altruism Scale, The Gratitude Questionnaire and the Subjective Happiness Scale. The results revealed that there was a significant positive relationship between Altruism and Gratitude (r =.444, p < .01); between Altruism and Happiness (r = 0.841); and between Gratitude and happiness (r = 0.751). The results of the study revealed that happiness does not has any meditating effect on the relationship between altruism and gratitude showing that gratitude as a virtue is capable enough to instill altruistic behaviors in people. The study has its immediate implication in helping academicians and students inferring how the behavior of giving and serving others can trigger happiness and how receiving help from others and being thankful of that can foster happiness specifically in Indian context as very less researches have been done collaborating these variables.
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Three questions are addressed: (1) How (un)happy are people with and without mental disorders? (2) What are the clinical characteristics associated with happiness among people with a mental disorder? (3) Does happiness predict recovery from mental disorders? A representative sample (N = 7076) of the Dutch population was interviewed at baseline and 1 and 3 years later. Mental disorders were assessed using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview. Happiness was measured using a single question on how often respondents had felt happy during the past 4 weeks. Of the respondents with a mental disorder 68.4% reported they had felt often happy, compared to 89.1% without a disorder. The unhappiness of people with mental disorders is associated with having a mood disorder and impaired emotional and social role functioning. Happiness enhances the changes of recovery from a mental disorder at follow-up. The implications are discussed.
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Aristotle's concept of eudaimonia and hedonic enjoyment constitute 2 philosophical conceptions of happiness. Two studies involving combined samples of undergraduate and graduate students (Study 1, n = 209; Study 2, n = 249) were undertaken to identify the convergent and divergent aspects of these constructs. As expected, there was a strong positive correlation between personal expressiveness (eudaimonia) and hedonic enjoyment. Analyses revealed significant differences between the 2 conceptions of happiness experienced in conjunction with activities for the variables of (1) opportunities for satisfaction, (2) strength of cognitive-affective components, (3) level of challenges, (4) level of skills, and (5) importance. It thus appears that the 2 conceptions of happiness are related but distinguishable and that personal expressiveness, but not hedonic enjoyment, is a signifier of success in the process of self-realization. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
This paper is divided into two parts. In the first, the rank order stability of individual differences in altruism across situations is examined and it is found that substantial consistency occurs when due regard is given to the principle of aggregation. In the second, a self-report altruism scale, on which respondents rate the frequency with which they have engaged in some 20 specific behaviors, is found to predict such criteria as peer-ratings of altruism, completing an organ-donor card, and paper-and-pencil measures of prosocial orientation. These data suggest there is a broad-based trait of altruism.
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Panel data from a sample of 313 women who were wives and mothers in 1956 and were interviewed both in 1956 and in 1986 are used to consider the pathways that lead to health and social integration. Possible relationships were explored between the number, duration, timing, and episodes of various nonfamily roles throughout adulthood and subsequent health and multiple-role occupancy. It was found that occupying multiple roles in 1956, participating in volunteer work on an intermittent basis, and belonging to a club or organization were positively related to various measures of health and that occupying multiple roles in 1956, as well as doing volunteer work, was positively related to occupying multiple roles in 1986.
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This chapter reviews the scientific research on subjective well-being. Subjective well-being consists of a person's cognitive and affective evaluations of his or her life. First, the authors will provide a brief historical review of research on subjective well-being. Second, they will summarize the main measurement issues (e.g., the validity of self-reports, memory bias). Third, they will present the major theoretical approaches to this area of research (e.g., need and goal satisfaction theories, process or activity theories, genetic and personality predisposition theories). Finally, the authors will review current findings (e.g., hedonic adaptation, the effect of intervention, cultural variation) and suggest future directions for the study of subjective well-being.
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A growing literature documents the positive effect of social relationships on health, in general, and in reducing mortality, in particular. Much remains to be learned about which relationships have this effect, particularly among the elderly. This research, a secondary analysis of a national sample of community-dwelling elderly aged 70 and over, addresses these questions. Data come from the Longitudinal Study on Aging. Five scales constructed from relationship questions asked in the survey are related to respondent mortality over a 4-year follow-up using multiple logistic regression . The research confirms that certain relationships appear to reduce subsequent mortality: going to church/temple, volunteering, seeing friends or neighbors, and talking with them on the phone (socioexpressive relationships). The effect can be seen among healthy and more infirm elders. Helping relationships and household and kin relationships do not seem to reduce the risk of elder moriality.
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This chapter describes a series of experiments that show the multiplicity of influences promoting and/or inhibiting the giving of aid to those in physical distress. Physical distress represents one of the most basic and important conditions requiring assistance; this is the reason for selecting helping behavior in response to physical distress as the focus of study. In a series of experiments, Berkowitz and his associates explored the conditions under which a person was willing to expend effort to help another person gain prestige and material reward. They found that, the greater the dependence of one person on another, the more likely it is that the latter will work hard in order to help. Berkowitz and Daniels suggested that a norm of social responsibility, which prescribes that people should help others who are dependent on them, guides this helping behavior. The chapter presents a general theoretical discussion of what motivates or restrains helping behavior, what are some reasons for helping or not doing so. Several groups of experiments have been presented, each introduced by a more detailed discussion of certain relevant determinants of helping.
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The positive association between volunteering and health has been widely interpreted as evidence of the salutary effect of volunteering during adulthood. Using three waves of data from a national survey, this study uses structural equation models to examine the relationships among volunteering, functional limitations, and depressive symptoms during middle and later adulthood. The findings reveal a salutary effect of volunteering in later life as well as a compensatory mechanism. By contrast, only a barrier mechanism was uncovered in middle age: Depressive symptoms decreased volunteer participation over time. The results demonstrate life course variation in the relationship between volunteering and health and suggest greater attention to selection processes in the study of social engagement and health.