Acts of kindness reduce depression and anxiety?


Doing good deeds for others can help with symptoms of depression or anxiety, new Ohio State research shows.

David Cregg, PhD graduate,
and Jennifer Cheavens, professor of psychology, published the study recently in The Journal of Positive Psychology.

The study involved 122 people in central Ohio who had moderate to severe symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress.

They were split into three groups. The first group was instructed to plan social activities for two days a week.

The second group focused on “cognitive reappraisal,” recording negative thought patterns and learning how to revise their thoughts.

The third group was instructed to perform three acts of kindness per day twice a week.

David Cregg

PhD graduate in psychology
The Ohio State University

Their acts of kindness included baking cookies for friends, offering rides, and leaving sticky notes for roommates with words of encouragement.

All groups showed improvement after 10 weeks, but those who had performed acts of kindness saw a larger reduction in their depression and anxiety symptoms.

 Jennifer Cheavens

Professor of psychology
The Ohio State University

Learn more at:

Read the article