Can Emotional Support Be Paid Forward with Charitable Donations?
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. Department of Psychology Undergraduate Research Theses; 2017
Paying it forward refers to the tendency for people who receive help from one person to help others in general later. Past research shows that instrumental support, which provides tangible benefits, can lead to paying it forward because of gratitude. However, there are different types of support. We tested whether receiving emotional support, which communicates caring towards a person, increases the likelihood of paying it forward. We also tested whether receiving support in certain contexts could affect paying it forward. Because previous research has linked high compassionate goals with providing social support, we also hypothesized that compassionate goals might moderate this effect. Participants completed measures of compassionate goals. Afterwards, participants completed a stressful or non-stressful task, and either received or did not receive emotional support. Finally, we provided participants with the opportunity to donate as a measure of paying it forward. Analyses revealed that regardless of the stressfulness of the task, participants felt more gratitude when they received support. However, there was no effect of support or stress on donations. Furthermore, compassionate goals did not moderate this relationship. We discuss possible reasons for null findings and their implications.
Academic Major: Psychology
Research Scholars Award