New Harvard Study | Integrity seems healthy

Integrity is good for your health. A recent study conducted by researchers at Harvard University in the United States showed that people whose lives are based on high moral standards are less likely to develop depression.

Posted at 5:00 a.m

Louise Leduc

Louise Leduc
Journalism

First, how do you measure integrity?

For the purposes of their study, lead researcher Dorota Weziak-Bialowolska and colleagues set out to build a seven-indicator scale to assess the moral values ​​of 1,209 randomly selected participants in one large service company in the United States. These people had to say to what extent (from 0 to 10) they subscribed to different phrases such as: “My strength comes from helping others.” I always treat others with kindness, fairness, and respect. “I am ready to meet some difficulties if it is necessary for me to do good.”

Medical examination

The researchers then asked the subjects in their sample to describe their physical and mental health status. They also had access to the claims these people made to their insurance company, as well as their diagnoses of depression, anxiety, and cardiovascular disease when this was the case.

less depression

consequences ? People who base their lives on high moral values ​​have a lower risk of depression, with a reduction in incidence ranging from 21% to 51%. The people who scored high on integrity were also those who, in their self-assessment, felt they had better physical and general health. The findings also suggest that higher ethical standards have a protective effect against anxiety and cardiovascular disease, although less dramatic than depression.

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Researchers’ hypotheses

The researchers believe that the lower risk of depression may be related to “moral brain responses to decision-making”.

According to the study authors, their findings support “evolutionary theories that altruistic and generous behaviors contribute to improved social cooperation and enhanced adaptation to a changing environment.”

It seems that such behaviors, contrary to the law of the strongest – “lead to the survival of mankind in the process of evolution.”

Follow-ups to do

Like any study, this study has its limitations, the researchers say. One of these, they wrote, stemmed from the fact that their group was mostly white-collar and not representative of the entire population.

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