Humility: A consistent and robust predictor of generosity

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Humility: A consistent and robust predictor of generosity

Does humility predict generous motives and behaviors? Although earlier studies have suggested a positive connection it has remained unclear whether another trait might better account for the humility/generosity link. Three studies examined associations between a self-report measure of humility related traits and generosity. In Study 1 (197 adults in a community sample) humility predicted greater generosity on two behavioral measures: Charitable donations and mailing back an extra survey. In Study 2 (286 undergraduates) humility predicted giving more money to an anonymous future participant. In Study 3 (217 undergraduates) humility was associated with greater self-reported motives to be kind to others including benefactors close others strangers and enemies. Across all three studies the role of humility was not better explained by the Big Five self-esteem entitlement religiosity gratitude or social desirability. These studies complement prior work by demonstrating that the link between humility and generosity is both consistent and robust.

The Journal of Positive Psychology Vol. 7, No. 3, 2012, 208–218

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