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People who volunteer for selfless reasons, such as helping others, live longer than those who don’t lend a helping hand, a new study shows. However, those who volunteer for more self-centered reasons do not reap the same life-extending benefits.

“This could mean that people who volunteer with other people as their main motivation may be buffered from potential stressors associated with volunteering, such as time constraints and lack of pay,” study researcher Sara Konrath of the University of Michigan said in a statement.

(Past research suggested another benefit for selfless volunteers — a date. Apparently women rate such altruism high on their list of desirable traits in a mate.)

Konrath and colleagues looked at results from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, which has followed a random sample of 10,317 Wisconsin residents from their high school graduation in 1957 until the present. In 2008, the average age of the participants was about 69, and about half of the participants are female.

In 2004, the participants reported how often they had volunteered within the past 10 years. They also explained their reasons for volunteering, or, in the cases of those who had not volunteered but were planning to, the reasons they would.

read more at livescience.com

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