Altruism refers to anybehavior that is designed to increase another person’s welfare, and particularly those actions that do not seem to providea direct reward to the person who performs them (Dovidio, Piliavin, Schroeder, & Penner, 2006). 1 Altruism occurs when we stop to help a stranger who has been stranded on the highway, when we volunteer at a homeless shelter, or when we donate to a charity. According to a survey given by an established coalition that studies and encourages volunteering (http://www.independentsector.org), in 2001 over 83 million American adults reported that they helped others by volunteering, and did so an average of 3.6 hours per week. The survey estimated that the value of the volunteer time that was given was over 239 billion dollars.
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Helping Others: Altruism Helps Create Harmonious Relationships
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