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Does Prosociality in Early-to Mid-Adolescence Protect Against Later Development of Antisocial Behaviours?

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

E-pub ahead of print
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>13/11/2023
<mark>Journal</mark>The Journal of Early Adolescence
Publication StatusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date13/11/23
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Connections between prosociality and antisocial behaviors have been recognized; however, little research has studied their developmental links longitudinally. This is important to illuminate during early adolescence as a sensitive period for social development in which prosociality could protect against the development of later antisocial behaviors. This study investigates the within-person developmental links between prosociality and antisocial behaviors, as well as a potential mediating role of peer relationships, across ages 11, 13, and 15 ( N = 1526; 51% male) using random-intercept cross-lagged panel models. Results indicated that neither self-reported nor teacher-reported prosociality was associated with reduced aggressive behaviors but suggested a direct protective (‘promotive’) effect of teacher-reported prosociality on bullying perpetration. These findings suggest that promoting prosociality in early adolescence may help reduce some antisocial behaviors over early to mid-adolescent development. Improving prosociality could be explored as a target in intervention approaches such as school-based anti-bullying interventions.