Spending money on others makes people from both rich and poor countries feel better about themselves. This is the suggestion of new research published by the American Psychological Association in its Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, which showed individuals around the world experience a warm glow when being generous with their cash.
Led by Lara Aknin of Simon Fraser University in Canada, the study looked at a total of 234,917 people from 136 countries and revealed a positive relationship between spending and personal wellbeing in 120 of these nations.
Ms Aknin stated: "Our findings suggest that the psychological reward experienced from helping others may be deeply ingrained in human nature, emerging in diverse cultural and economic contexts."
According to the findings, every region of the world demonstrated a link between giving and an increase in wellbeing, with factors such as income, perceived freedom and social support not affecting the connection.
Chartered Psychologist Susan Firth comments:
"People enjoy supporting those who are less fortunate or ‘giving something back’ because it makes them feel caring and valued. We like to feel we’re doing something that will be appreciated and it doesn’t always matter if we don’t know the people involved. This is particularly true if we feel our money will be helping more than one person as the value of our donation or gift feels multiplied by the numbers who will benefit as a result.
"Many of us may not have roles or jobs that are in caring professions where immediate feedback (because we’ve fixed something about them or received a thank you), is apparent. So for those who cannot ‘see’ or ‘feel’ their work is meaningful then achieving something using charitable efforts, donations or events are an important way of supporting others."