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Choosing for others over oneself when being kind : a qualitative and quantitative analysis of Acts of Kindness

Pohle, D. (2018) Choosing for others over oneself when being kind : a qualitative and quantitative analysis of Acts of Kindness.

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Abstract:Background: The current study focuses on two aspects while analysing an intervention on acts of kindness: on the one hand, it is aimed to find out which targets the participants address when engaging in kind activities and how they reflect on these acts. On the other hand, it is of interest to compare the participants’ different levels of mental health, flourishing and languishing, while executing and reflecting on these kind activities. Methods: 156 reflections of 15 flourishers and 15 non-flourishers were analysed on content. Also, the differences in engaging in kind activities, reflecting on them and in the increases of the individual’s well-being throughout the intervention were analysed and compared between flourishers and non-flourishers. Results: Based on the data two different coding schemes were established – one applying the six different targets of acts of kindness that were found and another one considering the motives, experiences and emotions of the participant when reflecting. Furthermore, the comparison of flourishers and non-flourishers revealed that (1) they did not differ in addressed targets when engaging in kind acts, (2) flourishers experienced greater self-esteem than non-flourishers, (3) no significant difference was found in displaying emotions, (4) both groups’ increase in well-being was related to the addressed target ‘for others’, and the non-flourishers’ increase in well-being was related to reporting trivial information when reflecting. Conclusion: The evolved coding schemes prove a high intern reliability and therefore are applicable to further analyses of acts of kindness. Additionally, flourishers and non-flourishers mostly did not significantly differ in their addressed targets of kind acts and the reflection about these activities. Both groups seemed happier when addressing strangers over kin, and they neglected the possibility to be kind towards themselves and instead focused on others. Nevertheless, the results of this study should be interpreted carefully as both moderately healthy and languishing participants represented the group non-flourishers.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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