Caregiving Might Mean Longer Life
Don: Analyzing data from a five-year study, Stephanie Brown, a psychologist at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor, examined social support in elderly folks. Under scrutiny was practical support–such as help with the daily chores–as well as emotional support, such as listening to your spouse’s troubles. The relative presence, or absence, of these things was correlated with survival rates.
Yaël: Hold on. I see it coming. She found that elderly folks who get enough support lived longer than those who don't. So, we should remember to be nice to each other. Right?
D: Well, it's good to be nice. But her study didn't find that people who receive support lived any longer than average. Instead, it found that people who gave the support were living longer.
Y: Wow, you mean the health benefits were reaped by the care-givers more than the care-receivers!
D: That what her data show. Older folks in the study who were either practical help-givers to neighbors and friends, or emotional support-givers to their spouses, had as little as half the death rate of people who were the receivers of help. Receivers, on the other hand, lived on average no longer than other folks.
Y: That is a surprise!
D: Of course, part of the effect may be that help-givers are just stronger in the first place. But beyond this, there does seem to be something life-giving about helping other people with their lives.
Don: 密歇根州安阿伯大学心理学家Stephanie Brown从一项长达五年的研究的分析数据，对社会于老年群体的社会支持进行研究。该研究项目对一些具有实际价值的支持，如日常琐事上的帮助以及情感上的支持（倾听配偶的烦恼）等进行了分析研究。这些支持的存在或是缺失与存活率是相互关联的。