Objectives: Whether older adults are more prosocial than younger adults has been under debate. In the current study, we investigated how age differences in prosocial behaviors varied across different contextual factors, that is, donation form, kinship, and social distance.
Methods: To achieve this purpose, 89 younger and 66 older adults took part in a hypothetical donation task in which they were asked to donate money and time to relatives and nonrelatives at various social distances.
Results: The results showed that, compared to younger adults, (a) older adults donated less to nonrelatives (regardless of the donation form), but donated a similar amount (in money) or even donated more (in time) to relatives; (b) older adults displayed higher levels of kin selection (favoring relatives over nonrelatives) in both monetary and time donations; and (c) older adults showed higher levels of social discounting (favoring socially close over distant others) in monetary but not time donation.
Discussion: The study underscored the importance of contextual factors in understanding age differences in prosocial behaviors such as donation.