Title

Does Helping Keep Teens Protected? Longitudinal Bidirectional Relations Between Prosocial Behavior and Problem Behavior

Keywords

Prosocial behavior, adolescence, mental health

Abstract

The current study examined bidirectional, longitudinal links between prosocial and problem behavior. Participants (N = 500) were recruited from a Northwestern city in the United States and assessed for 3 consecutive years from 2009 to 2011 (M age of youth at Time 1 = 13.32, SD = 1.05; 52% girls; 67% European American, 33% single-parent families). Results suggested that effects of earlier prosocial behavior toward family and strangers were predictive of fewer problem behaviors 2 years later, while results for prosocial behavior toward friends were more mixed. Results also suggested depression predicted lower prosocial behavior toward family members and anxiety predicted higher prosocial behavior toward friends. Findings show a complex pattern of relations that demonstrate the need to consider targets of helping.

Original Publication Citation

Padilla-Walker, L. M., Carlo, G., *Nielson, M. G. (2015). Does helping keep teens protected? Longitudinal bidirectional relations between prosocial behavior and problem behavior. Child Development, 86, 1759–1772.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date

2015-08-26

Publisher

Child Development

Language

English

College

Family, Home, and Social Sciences

Department

Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor

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