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Altruism and HealthPerspectives from Empirical Research$
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Stephen G. Post

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195182910

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195182910.001.0001

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Altruism and Health: Is There a Link During Adolescence?

Altruism and Health: Is There a Link During Adolescence?

(p.97) 7 Altruism and Health: Is There a Link During Adolescence?
Altruism and Health

Peter L. Benson

E. Gil Clary

Peter C. Scales

Oxford University Press

The links between prosocial action and health in adolescence have not been a central area of inquiry in the social sciences. Nevertheless, there is a growing body of literature that provides some hint about this intersection. This is partly due to the relatively recent national interest in volunteerism and the forms of it mandated or encouraged by school districts. And a voluminous body of research has documented the relationship of these programs to various indicators of adolescent well-being. Complementing this wave of research is an assortment of studies looking at other forms of adolescent engagement in actions variously labelled as prosocial behaviour, generosity, or altruism. In exploring the linkages between these behaviours and health, this chapter defines adolescent health, synthesizes the published literature, explores a large data set on 6th- to 12th-grade students to address additional empirical issues, and finally recommends new lines of inquiry needed to advance knowledge about the altruism and health relationship.

Keywords:   prosocial action, adolescent health, altruistic behaviour, generosity, adolescent engagement

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