Sex Roles

, Volume 56, Issue 7, pp 543–549

Expectation for Mood Enhancement as a Result of Helping: The Effects of Gender and Compassionate Love

Brief Report

DOI: 10.1007/s11199-007-9192-6

Cite this article as:
Sprecher, S., Fehr, B. & Zimmerman, C. Sex Roles (2007) 56: 543. doi:10.1007/s11199-007-9192-6


Several theoretical perspectives in the social psychology literature on helping suggest that people forecast the benefit that they will receive as a result of helping others, and help only if they determine that it is rewarding to do so. One type of self-benefit that can be received from helping is an enhancement of positive mood. The major hypotheses of the present study were: (1) women, to a greater degree than men, would expect to experience enhanced positive mood as a consequence of both helping and receiving help in a relational context; and (2) those who are high in compassionate love for others would expect to experience enhanced positive mood from giving and receiving help relative to those who are lower on compassionate love. Support was found for both hypotheses. In addition, women were more likely than men to rate certain helping behaviors in a relational context (e.g., providing verbal support) as good examples of “compassionate love acts.” The meaning of the results with respect to altruism and for gender differences in helping behavior is discussed.


Mood enhancement Compassionate love Helping behavior Gender differences Altruism 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan Sprecher
    • 1
  • Beverley Fehr
    • 2
  • Corinne Zimmerman
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Sociology and Anthropology and Department of PsychologyIllinois State UniversityNormalUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of WinnipegWinnipegCanada
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyIllinois State UniversityNormalUSA

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