Altruism is primarily defined as behaviour aimed at benefiting others. Recent studies in evolutionary, social and positive psychology have highlighted that altruistic emotions and behaviours significantly contribute to wellbeing, happiness, health and longevity. However, few studies specifically focused on the concept of altruism, its experiential dimensions, cultural variants, meaning and related life domains. Hence, this study aims at exploring: a) how do people define altruism; b) perceived individual and social consequences of altruism; c) perceived difficulties in being altruistic; d) cultural influences on conceptions of altruism and related behaviours. The Altruism Questionnaire was specifically developed to address these issues. Qualitative data were collected among 119 adult participants (60 Indians and 59 Italians). Findings revealed that in both cultures altruism is perceived more than just as pro-social behaviour, emphasising it as human and social value along with its relational and psychological features. Improvement in relationships is reported as the most prominent benefit of being altruistic. Paradoxically, negative social evaluation such as criticism, isolation and misunderstanding is reported as the prominent difficulty. Influences of culture-specific factors were detected in the conceptualization and evaluation of altruism and altruistic behaviours, raising questions for assessment, intervention and further research.

Beyond Pro-Social Behaviour : an Exploration of Altruism in Two Cultures / L. Soosai-Nathan, L. Negri, A. Delle Fave. - In: PSYCHOLOGICAL STUDIES. - ISSN 0033-2968. - 58:2(2013), pp. 103-114. [10.1007/s12646-013-0184-z]

Beyond Pro-Social Behaviour : an Exploration of Altruism in Two Cultures

L. Soosai-Nathan;L. Negri;A. Delle Fave
2013

Abstract

Altruism is primarily defined as behaviour aimed at benefiting others. Recent studies in evolutionary, social and positive psychology have highlighted that altruistic emotions and behaviours significantly contribute to wellbeing, happiness, health and longevity. However, few studies specifically focused on the concept of altruism, its experiential dimensions, cultural variants, meaning and related life domains. Hence, this study aims at exploring: a) how do people define altruism; b) perceived individual and social consequences of altruism; c) perceived difficulties in being altruistic; d) cultural influences on conceptions of altruism and related behaviours. The Altruism Questionnaire was specifically developed to address these issues. Qualitative data were collected among 119 adult participants (60 Indians and 59 Italians). Findings revealed that in both cultures altruism is perceived more than just as pro-social behaviour, emphasising it as human and social value along with its relational and psychological features. Improvement in relationships is reported as the most prominent benefit of being altruistic. Paradoxically, negative social evaluation such as criticism, isolation and misunderstanding is reported as the prominent difficulty. Influences of culture-specific factors were detected in the conceptualization and evaluation of altruism and altruistic behaviours, raising questions for assessment, intervention and further research.
altruism; culture; positive psychology; qualitative study; social relationships
Settore M-PSI/01 - Psicologia Generale
Settore M-PSI/05 - Psicologia Sociale
Article (author)
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
Psychological studies publ.pdf

accesso riservato

Tipologia: Publisher's version/PDF
Dimensione 261.45 kB
Formato Adobe PDF
261.45 kB Adobe PDF   Visualizza/Apri   Richiedi una copia
10.1007_s12646-013-0184-z.pdf

accesso riservato

Tipologia: Publisher's version/PDF
Dimensione 244.41 kB
Formato Adobe PDF
244.41 kB Adobe PDF   Visualizza/Apri   Richiedi una copia
Pubblicazioni consigliate

Caricamento pubblicazioni consigliate

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/235337
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact