Why Are You Nice? Relational and Dispositional Correlates of Adolescent Prosocial Behavior
Pitcher, Noelle L.; Egan, Drew; Lutz, Julie; Black, Brent; Padilla-Walker, Laura M.
IntroductionProsocialbehavior is defined as voluntary behavior to help and benefit another (Padilla-Walker & Christensen, in press). Most research looking at adolescent’s prosocialbehavior has taken a dispositional approach, meaning adolescents help people because of their personal traits such as empathy (Krevans & Gibbs, 1996), and values (Bardi& Schwartz, 2003). In addition, the majority of research focuses on prosocialbehavior toward strangers. There is also research showing that adolescents are more frequently prosocialtoward friends and family than toward strangers (Padilla-Walker & Christensen, in press). Thus, recent studies have turned their attention to a relational approach of prosocialdevelopment. This approach states that adolescents are prosocialtoward others with whom they have established relationships in an attempt to maintain those relationships (Eberly& Montemayor, 1999). Therefore, the current study will examine both the dispositional and relational approaches to prosocialdevelopment.Based on existing research, we hypothesize that: 1) Dispositional traits will be a stronger predictor of prosocialbehavior towards strangers than towards friends and family. 2) After controlling for dispositional traits, the relationship quality with mom and dad will still be directly related to prosocialbehavior towards family. 3)After controlling for dispositional traits, the relationship quality with friends will still be directly related to prosocialbehavior towards friends.