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Aiding Others Linked to a Stronger Immune System

September 25, 1987|From United Press International

NEW YORK — People who help others may be helping themselves in the long run, according to studies that indicate generous people have fewer health problems.

One study at Boston University indicated that even a film clip of Mother Theresa helping the sick and dying in Calcutta was sufficient to temporarily boost the immune systems of students who watched it.

Several psychologists, in a Psychology Today article, said there is "mounting evidence" that how people behave to their fellow humans is linked to how often they suffer from sickness and disease.

This link between generosity and health probably developed through evolution as a means of survival, the doctors theorized. They said people who helped others were more valuable to society as a whole and needed to survive longer.

The psychologists also said almost every society in the world has emphasized the same virtues--generosity and caring for others.

"Perhaps one of the many reasons is that doing so is not only helpful to the entire community, but also to health of the donor," they said.

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