Altruistic kids are less depressed

Altruistic kids are less depressed

Altruistic kids are less depressed

Those kids who find pleasure in sharing whatever money they have with others are less likely to sufferer from depression, a fascinating research shows.

Adolescents (15- and 16-year-olds) who find pleasure in pro-social activities, such as giving their money to family members, are less likely to become depressed than those who get a bigger thrill from taking risks or keeping the money for themselves.

"If we can somehow redirect adolescents away from risk-taking or self-centred rewards and toward engaging in these more pro-social behaviours, then perhaps that can have a positive impact on their well-being over time," said Eva Telzer, a psychology professor at University of Illinois.

The study focused on the ventral striatum, a brain region that regulates feelings of pleasure in response to rewards.

Using a functional brain scan, the researchers measured ventral striatum activity in adolescents who engaged in tasks that involved either giving money to others, keeping the money or making risky financial decisions in the hope of earning a reward.

The researchers tested the participants depressive symptoms initially and at the end of a year.

They that activity in the ventral striatum in response to different rewards predicted whether depressive symptoms would worsen - or lessen - over time.

"If they show higher levels of reward activation in the ventral striatum in the context of the risk-taking task, they show increases in depressive symptoms over time," Telzer added.

The study appeared in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.