prosocial behavior, parenting, adolescence, warmth, hostility


The current study examined the influence that parental warmth/support and verbal hostility had on adolescents’ prosocial behavior toward multiple targets (stranger, friend, family) using multiple reporters (self, parent, observations). Data were taken from Times 2 and 3 of a longitudinal project and included 500 adolescents and their parents (M age of child at Time 2 12.34). Structural equation models suggested that mother warmth was associated with prosocial behavior toward family, while father warmth was associated with prosocial behavior toward friends. Findings also suggested that adolescents’ prosocial behavior was more consistently influenced by father hostility than it was by father warmth. Finally, observational reports of father hostility were associated with adolescent prosocial behavior more consistently than self- or child-reported parenting. The discussion focuses on the importance of considering target of prosocial behavior, the differences between mothers and fathers, and the role of self-reports compared to observations.

Original Publication Citation

Padilla-Walker, L. M., *Nielson, M. G., & Day, R. A. (2016). The role of parental warmth and hostility on adolescents' prosocial behavior toward multiple targets. Journal of Family Psychology, 30, 331-340.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Journal of Family Psychology




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor