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Study says It Really is Better to Give Than Receive

An exercise instructor is silhouetted against the dusk sky while leading a mass exercise routine at a park in Bangkok, Thailand. Every morning hundreds of health and sports enthusiasts gather in the park at the heart of the city's financial district where
A new study has established the accuracy of the Biblical advice, "It is better to give than receive."

Researchers from three American universities identified about 850 people who reported experiencing significant stress during the previous year, including serious illness, financial difficulties or the death of a family member. The subjects were asked how much time they spent during the same period helping friends, neighbors and relatives, with tasks such as driving them around, doing errands and providing childcare.

Principal investigator Michael J. Poulin, at the University of Buffalo, says the research team found that during the five years of the study, those who helped others "were less likely to die than those who had not."

They concluded the sociable behavior cushioned the negative association between stress and mortality. The same benefit was not seen in those who received social support from others.

Poulin says the findings, published in the American Journal of Public Health, help to understand the connections between social environment and health.