(PRWEB) August 07, 2012
“The truth pays,” says faith-based website, followme.org.
That statement was made today as researchers released a new study finding that telling the truth significantly improves one’s health.
Anita Kelly, a psychology professor at the University of Notre Dame, and her team presented their findings at the American Psychological Association’s annual conference over the weekend in Orlando, FL.
First, 110 individuals, ages 18-71, were selected for the ten-week-long test. According to a CBS News report, 66 percent of the participants were college students, with local adults making up the rest of the sample population.
Half of the population was given very specific instructions to “refrain from telling any lies for any reason to anyone,” according to a USA Today report. “You may omit truths, refuse to answer questions, and keep secrets, but you cannot say anything that you know to be false,” Kelly and her team instructed the subjects. The other half of the population was given no such instructions.
Over the course of ten weeks, Kelly and her team analyzed the health of both populations: those intentionally refraining from lying and those not refraining. Each week, participants completed a questionnaire about their habits and their health and completed a polygraph test about the number of lies they told, Kelly said in her press release for the APA.
The results? The team from Notre Dame found a significant connection between telling the truth and improvements in health and wellness. Kelly sums up the group’s findings: “When they went up in their lies, their health went down. When their lies went down, their health improved.”
Other psychologists seem to agree with these findings. Linda Stroh, a professor emeritus of organizational behavior at Loyola University in Chicago, told USA Today, “When you find that you don’t lie, you have less stress. Being very conflicted adds an inordinate amount of stress to your life.”
Some researchers were even less surprised by Kelly’s findings. Pastor Jamie from faith-based website, followme.org, said, “This study gives some scientific weight to a claim that churches and non-profits have been making for years: that kindness improves well-being.” He suspects that further research will only confirm the finding that “the truth pays.”
In fact, Kelly found that for every three less lies one of her subjects told, that subject reported four less mental health complaints and three less physical health complaints, her press release states. Non-liars experienced less anxiety, tension, and melancholy, as well as fewer headaches and sore throats.
Kelly’s findings have yet to be published but are currently submitted for scientific review.