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December 29, 2015

Opinion: Giving May Spur Good Health Along With Good Feeling

Two Canadian academics describe their research suggesting that charitable behavior brings tangible health benefits in a New York Times opinion piece.

The University of British Columbia study involved people ages 65 to 85 with high blood pressure who were given money and instructed to spend it either on themselves or on others. Those who did the latter were found to have significantly reduced blood pressure in follow-up testing, results mirrored when researchers analyzed data from a U.S. study of older adults' health and lifestyle.

The study "provides the first causal evidence that spending money on others may improve physical health," write Elizabeth W. Dunn and Ashley Whillans, respectively a psychology professor and a doctoral candidate at the university.