"It’s good to be good: 2011 5th annual scientific report on health, happiness and helping others"
I don't have the chops to evaluate the study, but it sure is interesting if true. Title and abstract [PDF]:
The International Journal of Person Centered Medicine
It’s good to be good: 2011 5th annual scientific report on health, happiness and helping others
Stephen G. Post PhD
Professor of Preventive Medicine
Head of the Division of Medicine in Society and Director, Center for Medical Humanites, Compassionate Care and Bioethics, Stony Brook University, New York, USA
This literature review presents an extensive set of scientific and medical studies regarding the benefits experienced by individuals who act sincerely for the benefit of others. Happiness, health and even longevity are benefits that have been reported in more than fifty investigations using a variety of methodologies. This convergence includes studies on recovery from alcoholism, addiction, and depression; on coping with severe diagnoses and with dying; longevity in older adults and in youth followed over the course of their lifetimes; in neurology, endocrinology and immunology and on sel f - reported happiness as well as the “helper’s high” in relation to thresholds of volunteerism. The conclusion of this review is that when we help others, we help ourselves, with the caveat that we need balance in our lives and should not be overwhelmed. The evidence for the benefits of giving is now extremely powerful and suggests that healthcare professionals might wish to recommend such activities to patients. A number of studies covered also highlight that public health implications of encouraging proso cial and generous behaviors. In particular, the benefits of contributing to the lives of others are especially clear under conditions of stress or hardship and constitute the essential component of post - traumatic growth. A Darwinian model for these benefi ts is suggested, as well as a philosophical recognition of the convergence between science and spiritual - moral wisdom with respect to the benefits of doing “unto others”.
Keywords Altruism, compassion, empathy, happiness, healing, health, helping, society , stress, suffering, support
That's some set of keywords....