Generosity Motivating Factors and Wellbeing

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Generosity is described as a virtue of giving out liberally without anticipating payback. In religion, this aspect has been regarded as a way of life-enhancing a person’s daily life (well-being). Research has shown generous people as having happier lives and living more pro-social lives. It is also true that helping-out (generosity) facilitates group work, which turns out to provide individuals with massive long-run benefits, and psychological well-being (Seligman & Park, 2005). It is hard to become generous and that’s why generosity motivation factors come in. Therefore generosity motivating factors are required in generosity exercises which increase psychological well being

Generosity is characterized by a complicated collection of cognitions, and influences that are antithetical states of superego severity, characterizing countless forms of human psychopathology (McCullough, 2002). “In development, generosity is evoked by idealization, and a dynamic axis of, idealization-generosity promoting relational proximity i.e., between the child and its caretakers, and eventually fosters separation and individuation”. (Kradin, 2002) Generosity is extremely responsive to unpleasant conditions and needs environmental conditions favorable to psychosomatic wellbeing.

In his article, Grant (2008) presents four types of motivating factors for generosity; these are intrinsic, extrinsic, pro-social, and image motivation. Intrinsic motivation refers to an individual kind of motivation driven by personal interests or enjoyment in a specified task (the task itself) (Ryan & Deci, 2000). The authors in their article bring forth the concept of external motivation referring to the idea that the activity an individual partakes is done in order to attain separate outcomes.

Pro-social motivation, on the other hand, is reflected in the personality trait of an individual’s thoughtfulness (Grant, 2008). As shown by Omoto, Snyder & Stefan Stu¨rmer, (2005), the expression or feeling of empathy and interpersonal attraction can lead to volunteerism (generosity). This feeling of empathy is responsible for the provision of pro-social behavior motivation. Grant in his article argued that pro-social motivation is more temporary, and focuses on the objective of defending and promoting the welfare of others. Image motivation also called signaling motivation on its part, is the concept that individuals are motivated by how others view or regard them (Ariely, Bracha & Meier, 2007).

Understanding the motivating factors for generosity can be important if one desires to cultivate generosity in an individual. An early study conducted by Barnett, Laura, and Jeffery (1979) indicated that generosity could be cultivated in a person. The study identified that the level of concern an individual has towards others plays a major role in molding generous acts. The study was conducted on 85 children with ages that ranged between seven to twelve years. The researchers induced different moods on the children being researched to alter their behavior in relation to generosity. The kids, who displayed positive responses, ended up being far more generous as compared to the ones who did not show any positive effects (Barnett, Laura & Jeffery, 1979).

Generosity is a subject psychologists are currently investigating scientifically. This follows the discovery of its significance in increasing psychological well-being, generosity is robustly linked with several facets of psychological and bodily well-being. “Grateful/generous responses to life can lead to peace of mind, happiness, physical health, and deeper, more satisfying personal relationship” (Emmons & McCullough, 2003). A lot of research has shown generous individuals having more positive passion, life contentment, liveliness, hopefulness, empathy, and less stressful life. The best way to justify this matter is, by conducting experimental research. This experiment should be based on a group of individuals who should be subjected to a generosity intervention which will be used to determine how generosity impacts other factors. The research can be done better with a comparison group that does not encourage generosity


Emmons, R., & McCullough, M. (2003). Counting Blessings versus Burdens: An Experimental Investigation of Gratitude and Subjective Well-Being in Daily Life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, (2), 377-389.

Kradin, R. (2002). Generosity: a psychological and interpersonal motivational factor of therapeutic relevance. Journal of analytical psychology, 44 (2), 221-236.

McCullough, M.E. (2002). Characteristics of Generosity. Journal of personality and social well being, 60 (4), 410-421.

Seligman, P., & Park, N. (2005). Generosity and Psychological well-being. Social Psychology, 83, 112-127.

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PsychologyWriting. 2023. "Generosity Motivating Factors and Wellbeing." January 25, 2023.

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PsychologyWriting. "Generosity Motivating Factors and Wellbeing." January 25, 2023.