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Prosocial Behavior

Components of prosocial behavior include caring about the welfare and rights of others, feeling care and empathy for them, and acting in a way that benefits others. The finest types of prosocial action are driven by altruism, a selfless desire to assist another individual.

(Grusec, Hastings, & Almas, 2011)

Prosocial conduct is more prevalent in adolescent than in childhood, although caring for others and consoling those in pain can be observed in preschool.

(Eisenberg, Spinrad, & Sadovsky, 2006)

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In a recent study explored this topic and confirmed the presence of six types of prosocial behavior in young adolescents:

Altruism

“One of the best things about doing charity work is that it looks good.”

Dire

"I tend to help people who are hurt badly.”

Public

“Helping others while I’m being watched is when I work best.”

Anonymous

“I prefer to donate money without anyone knowing.”

Emotional

"I usually help others when they are very upset."

Compliant

"I never wait to help others when they ask for it."

(Carlo, G., Knight, G. P., McGinley, M., Zamboanga, B. L., & Jarvis, L. H. ,2010)

Two other aspects of prosocial behavior are forgiveness and gratitude

Forgiveness:

A recent study indicated that when adolescents had hurtful school experiences, those who disliked the transgressor exhibited more hostile thoughts, rage, and avoidance/revenge impulses than those who liked the transgressor.

(Peets, Hodges, & Salmivalli, 2013)
 

Gratitude:

Gratitude was linked to a number of positive aspects of development in young adolescents, including satisfaction with one’s family, optimism, and prosocial behavior.

(Froh, Yurkewicz, & Kashdan, 2009)

Adolescents’ expression of gratitude was linked to having fewer depressive symptoms

(Lambert, Fincham, & Stillman, 2012)

A longitudinal study assessed the gratitude of adolescents at 10 to 14 years of age. Four years later, the most grateful adolescents (top 20 percent) had a stronger sense of the meaning of life, were more satisfied with their life, were happier and more hopeful, and had a lower level of negative emotions and were less depressed than the least grateful students (bottom 20 percent).
(Bono, 2012)

Empathy

"Empathy contributes to the child’s moral development."

 (Eisenberg, Spinrad, & Sadovsky, 2013)

Although empathy is an emotional state, it also has a cognitive component: the capacity to see another's inner psychological processes, also known as perspective taking.

(Eisenberg & others, 2009)

Although all adolescents are capable of responding with empathy, not all do so. The empathic conduct of adolescents differs substantially. For instance, empathetic dysfunctions in older children and teenagers might contribute to antisocial conduct. Some violently convicted offenders lack empathy for the suffering of their victims. When challenged about the suffering he had caused a blind woman, a 13-year-old kid convicted of forcefully robbing many elderly people replied, "What do I care? I'm not her"

(Damon, 1988)

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DAMON’S DESCRIPTION OF DEVELOPMENTAL CHANGES IN EMPATHY

(Santrock, 2014)

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