Teachers would be grateful if students adopted the positive social custom of “one for all, all for one”. However, would helping others be beneficial to the students themselves? A recent study published in Journal of Happiness Studies examined whether the altruistic personality trait of Chinese students contributed to their life satisfaction.
The study conducted a survey of 428 students from schools in East China, of whom 148, 139 and 141 were drawn from, respectively, primary schools, junior high schools and senior high schools. Students were assessed for their altruism, life satisfaction, positive and negative emotions. Altruism was measured in terms of sociability, empathy, social responsibility and interpersonal trust. The findings were as follows:
- Adolescents who have higher levels of altruism were found to have more positive emotions, fewer negative emotions. Their life satisfaction was also higher.
- Empathy, social responsibility and interpersonal trust positively predicted life satisfaction.
- On the other hand, no direct relationships were found between sociability and life satisfaction.
The authors suggested that the results revealed insights for educating adolescents. They recommended providing students with empathy training, cultivation of social responsibility and education on interpersonal trust.
Source: Lu, C., Jiang, Y., Zhao, X., & Fang, P. (2020). Will helping others also benefit you? Chinese adolescents’ altruistic personality traits and life satisfaction. Journal of Happiness Studies, 21, 1407-1425.