University of Twente Student Theses


Can “Acts of Kindness“ enhance mental well-being and flourishing in individuals from the general Dutch population?

Kaffke, Lara (2018) Can “Acts of Kindness“ enhance mental well-being and flourishing in individuals from the general Dutch population?

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Abstract:An intervention to enhance levels of well-being in individuals is the acts of kindness intervention. Research showed that well-being increases because of an increase in positive emotions and presumably positive relations. Moreover, performing kind acts to others is expected to be more effective than performing kind acts for oneself. The present research examined whether other-kindness is more effective in enhancing well-being, flourishing, positive emotions and positive relations compared to self-kindness, while self-kindness leads to an increase in self-acceptance. 254 participants from the general Dutch population (89.4% female, Mean age = 48.7) were randomly assigned to an acts of kindness condition (n=85, other-kindness), an active control condition (n=85, self-kindness) or a waitlist control condition (n=84). Participants had to perform five kind acts per week for a period of six weeks. Levels of well-being, positive emotions, positive relations and self-acceptance were measured using self-reporting questionnaires at baseline, at post-test and at a follow-up measure (six weeks after post-test). ANCOVA’s showed that other-kindness was even effective as self-kindness in enhancing levels of well-being at post-test. However, other-kindness was more effective in enhancing well-being up to six weeks compared to the waitlist control condition. Compared to self-kindness, other-kindness was even effective in improving flourishing, levels of positive relations, positive emotions and self-acceptance. The present research demonstrated that kind acts improved well-being but just the same as self-kindness did. Implications for future research are given concerning the implementation of the acts of kindness intervention in the Dutch population and further exploration of possible working mechanisms and effects of self-kindness.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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