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Beyond money: Nonmonetary prosociality across adulthood


Best, Ryan; Freund, Alexandra M (2021). Beyond money: Nonmonetary prosociality across adulthood. Psychology and Aging, 36(1):96-107.

Abstract

Empirical evidence suggests that self-reported prosociality and donations increase with age. The majority of this research was conducted using monetary donations as outcome measures. However, on average older adults hold a significant advantage in financial and material assets compared to younger adults, effectively lowering the subjective cost of small monetary donations. Are older adults also more prosocial when donating a nonmonetary resource that is of equal or even higher value for them compared to younger age groups? A first study (N=160, 20–74 years) combined data from self-report measures, affective responses, and hypothetical donation decisions to compute a single prosociality factor. Conceptually replicating findings from Hubbard, Harbaugh, Srivastava, Degras, and Mayr (2016) on monetary donations, results suggest that nonmonetary prosociality also increases with age. However, these differences depended on the domain of the donation. Data from two further behavioral studies (Study 2: N=156, 18–89 years; Study 3: N=342, 19–88 years) that were analyzed using Bayesian statistics provided evidence that older adults are not more prosocial than younger and middle-aged adults when donating a small amount of their time (in service of a donation to charity). In summary, the three studies suggest that older adults are not consistently more likely to behave prosocially than younger or middle-aged adults in nonmonetary domains. These findings point to the importance of moving research on prosociality and aging beyond financial donations and further explore the role of resources and perceived costs of prosociality.

Abstract

Empirical evidence suggests that self-reported prosociality and donations increase with age. The majority of this research was conducted using monetary donations as outcome measures. However, on average older adults hold a significant advantage in financial and material assets compared to younger adults, effectively lowering the subjective cost of small monetary donations. Are older adults also more prosocial when donating a nonmonetary resource that is of equal or even higher value for them compared to younger age groups? A first study (N=160, 20–74 years) combined data from self-report measures, affective responses, and hypothetical donation decisions to compute a single prosociality factor. Conceptually replicating findings from Hubbard, Harbaugh, Srivastava, Degras, and Mayr (2016) on monetary donations, results suggest that nonmonetary prosociality also increases with age. However, these differences depended on the domain of the donation. Data from two further behavioral studies (Study 2: N=156, 18–89 years; Study 3: N=342, 19–88 years) that were analyzed using Bayesian statistics provided evidence that older adults are not more prosocial than younger and middle-aged adults when donating a small amount of their time (in service of a donation to charity). In summary, the three studies suggest that older adults are not consistently more likely to behave prosocially than younger or middle-aged adults in nonmonetary domains. These findings point to the importance of moving research on prosociality and aging beyond financial donations and further explore the role of resources and perceived costs of prosociality.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
08 Research Priority Programs > Dynamics of Healthy Aging
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Social Psychology
Life Sciences > Aging
Health Sciences > Geriatrics and Gerontology
Uncontrolled Keywords:Geriatrics and Gerontology, Aging, Social Psychology
Language:English
Date:1 February 2021
Deposited On:22 Feb 2022 14:54
Last Modified:18 Jun 2024 03:37
Publisher:American Psychological Association
ISSN:0882-7974
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1037/pag0000548
PubMed ID:33705188