Sending gifts or spending money on others strengthens boding with the recipient, this in turn leads to greatest levels of happiness, shows study.
Research to be published in the International Journal of Happiness and Development investigates for the first time how social connection helps turn generous behaviour into positive feelings on the part of the donor, reports Science Daily.
Lara Aknin of Simon Fraser University, in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, and colleagues at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver and Harvard Business School, Massachusetts, US, wanted to examine when the emotional benefits of giving to charity become manifest.
They carried out three studies of charitable donations, or more precisely pro-social spending, and found that spending money on others or giving money to charity leads to the greatest happiness boost when giving fosters social connection.
The overarching conclusion is that donors feel happiest if they give to a charity via a friend, relative or social connection rather than simply making an anonymous donation to a worthy cause.