Family linkages and social inclusion. Predictors of prosocial behavior in childhood

Ana M. Tur-Porcar, Anna Doménech, Vicenta Mestre


The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between prosocial behavior and family environment variables (attachment to the mother and father and abandonment by the mother and father), personal variables (emotional instability, aggression, and coping strategies), and variables that relate to the immediate social environment (peer acceptance and rejection). This study also examined the predictors of prosocial behavior. Prosocial behavior is a personal protective factor that encourages positive relationships between peers and promotes personal and social adjustment behaviors (Mikolajewski, Chavarria, Moltisanti, Hart & Taylor, 2014). A study with a sample of 1,447 children (50.4% male and 49.6% female) aged between 7 and 12 years (M = 9.27; SD = 1.36) was conducted. The results confirmed the positive relationships between prosocial behavior and parental attachment, functional coping, and peer acceptance. The results also confirmed the negative relationships between prosocial behavior and abandonment by the parents, emotional instability, aggression, dysfunctional coping, and peer rejection. The positive predictor variables for prosocial behavior were attachment to the mother, functional coping, and expectations of peer acceptance. The negative predictor variables for prosocial behavior were emotional instability, physical and verbal aggression, and expectations of peer rejection. The findings have educational implications, which are discussed herein.


Prosocial behavior; Attachment; Coping; Aggression; Emotional instability; Peer relationships.

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