ArticlePDF Available


At the top of parents' many wishes is for their children to be happy, to be good, and to be well-liked. Our findings suggest that these goals may not only be compatible but also reciprocal. In a longitudinal experiment conducted in 19 classrooms in Vancouver, 9- to 11-year olds were instructed to perform three acts of kindness (versus visit three places) per week over the course of 4 weeks. Students in both conditions improved in well-being, but students who performed kind acts experienced significantly bigger increases in peer acceptance (or sociometric popularity) than students who visited places. Increasing peer acceptance is a critical goal, as it is related to a variety of important academic and social outcomes, including reduced likelihood of being bullied. Teachers and interventionists can build on this study by introducing intentional prosocial activities into classrooms and recommending that such activities be performed regularly and purposefully.
Kindness Counts: Prompting Prosocial Behavior in
Preadolescents Boosts Peer Acceptance and Well-Being
Kristin Layous
*, S. Katherine Nelson
, Eva Oberle
, Kimberly A. Schonert-Reichl
, Sonja Lyubomirsky
1Department of Psychology, University of California, Riverside, California, United States of America, 2Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology and Special
Education, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
At the top of parents’ many wishes is for their children to be happy, to be good, and to be well-liked. Our findings suggest
that these goals may not only be compatible but also reciprocal. In a longitudinal experiment conducted in 19 classrooms in
Vancouver, 9- to 11-year olds were instructed to perform three acts of kindness (versus visit three places) per week over the
course of 4 weeks. Students in both conditions improved in well-being, but students who performed kind acts experienced
significantly bigger increases in peer acceptance (or sociometric popularity) than students who visited places. Increasing
peer acceptance is a critical goal, as it is related to a variety of important academic and social outcomes, including reduced
likelihood of being bullied. Teachers and interventionists can build on this study by introducing intentional prosocial
activities into classrooms and recommending that such activities be performed regularly and purposefully.
Citation: Layous K, Nelson SK, Oberle E, Schonert-Reichl KA, Lyubomirsky S (2012) Kindness Counts: Prompting Prosocial Behavior in Preadolescents Boosts Peer
Acceptance and Well-Being. PLoS ONE 7(12): e51380. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0051380
Editor: Frank Krueger, George Mason University/Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study, United States of America
Received August 12, 2012; Accepted November 6, 2012; Published December 26, 2012
Copyright: ß2012 Layous et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits
unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Funding: These authors have no support or funding to report.
Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
* E-mail:
At the top of parents’ many wishes is for their children to be
happy, to be good, and to have positive relationships with others
[1–2]. Fortunately, research suggests that goals for happiness,
prosociality, and popularity may not only be compatible but also
reciprocal. Happy people are more likely to engage in prosocial
behavior [3–4] and have satisfying friendships [5]. Similarly,
students who are well-liked by peers (i.e., sociometrically popular)
are also helpful, cooperative, and emotionally well-adjusted [6–8].
Past studies indicate that the link between happiness and
prosociality is bidirectional–not only do happy people have the
personal resources to do good for others, but prompting people to
engage in prosocial behavior also increases well-being [9–12].
Based on this prior research–which is predominantly cross-
sectional–we predicted that prompting preadolescents to engage
in prosocial behavior will boost not only their happiness but also
their popularity.
To our knowledge, this study is the first longitudinal experi-
mental intervention of prosocial behavior in preadolescents
(‘‘tweens’’), and the first to link a manipulation of a simple helping
behavior to increases in sociometric popularity (as assessed by peer
reports). To explore whether doing good for others (versus
engaging in a simple pleasant activity) over 4 weeks would
simultaneously increase happiness and promote positive relation-
ships with peers, we randomly assigned 9- to 11-year-olds either to
perform acts of kindness (‘‘kindness’’) each week or to keep track of
places they visited that week (‘‘whereabouts’’).
Although the efficacy of happiness-increasing strategies is better
established in adults [13], some interventions have boosted well-
being in children and adolescents by encouraging gratitude [14–
15]. Prompting youth to engage in kind acts, however, may have
benefits beyond personal happiness, as prosocial behavior predicts
academic achievement and social acceptance in adolescents [16].
The dearth of work on enhancing happiness and prosociality in
youth, coupled with evidence of their many benefits, highlights the
desirability of extending research to this age group.
We predicted that committing kind acts (e.g., carrying groceries)
and tracking whereabouts (e.g., visiting grandma’s house or the
mall) would both be rewarding activities that would increase well-
being in preadolescents. Indeed, the whereabouts task was
designed to be a mildly pleasant and distracting control activity
(for similar mood-boosting benefits of such activities, see [17–18]).
For ethical and pragmatic reasons, we wanted to avoid potential
harm or waste by not administering the types of ‘‘neutral’’
activities previously used as control tasks (e.g., listing daily hassles
or writing essays), which preadolescents may find boring, pointless,
or even unpleasant. We also wanted to include a mildly positive
comparison group to rule out the possibility that doing kindness
increases popularity merely because it feels good. Accordingly, we
expected students who practice kind acts–an activity that promotes
positive relationships–to experience increases in peer acceptance
in addition to increases in well-being. Distinct from other animals,
humans as young as 18 months eagerly engage in altruistic acts
[19], suggesting that prosociality has a unique evolutionary
advantage for human social behavior. Indeed, prosocial behavior
has a strong positive association with later peer acceptance [16],
and this relationship is likely bidirectional, as children who feel
accepted are more likely to do things for others [20], and, in turn,
children who do things for others might gain the acceptance of
their peers. This latter path has not been studied experimentally.
Increasing peer acceptance is a critical goal, as it is related to
a variety of important academic [21] and social [22] outcomes,
including reduced likelihood of being bullied [23].
PLOS ONE | 1 December 2012 | Volume 7 | Issue 12 | e51380
Consent forms describing the study were sent home with
students and signed by their guardians. If students brought back
a signed consent form, they were then given their own consent
form to sign during the researchers’ first classroom visit. The
student consent form was verbally explained to the students by the
researchers and then students provided written consent. Consent
from guardians and students were recorded on a class roster. Only
if both guardian and student gave consent was the student given
baseline measures. The consent procedure and all data collection
were approved by the University of British Columbia’s Behavioral
Research Ethics Board (H11-00271) and the Vancouver School
Board Ethics Committee.
Nineteen classrooms in the Vancouver, BC school district were
randomly assigned to one of two conditions in the second half of
the school year. Every week over the course of 4 weeks, students
(N = 415, M
= 10.6), nested within classrooms, were instructed
either to perform 3 acts of kindness (for anyone they wish) or visit 3
places (anywhere they wish). Throughout the 4-week intervention,
students in both conditions reported what they did each week on
in-class surveys. Examples of kind acts included ‘‘gave my mom
a hug when she was stressed by her job,’’ ‘‘gave someone some of
my lunch,’’ and ‘‘vacuumed the floor.’’ Examples of locations
visited included ‘‘shopping centre,’’ ‘‘baseball diamond,’’ and
‘‘grandma’s house.’’ All students were told the study was about
children’s experiences and emotions.
Before and after the intervention, students reported their life
satisfaction (Satisfaction With Life Scale adapted for children;
[24]), happiness (Subjective Happiness Scale adapted for children;
[25]), and positive affect (child version of the Positive and Negative
Affect Schedule; [26]). In addition to the self-report measures,
students were provided with a roster of their classmates and asked
to circle students (fellow participants) who they ‘‘would like to be in
school activities [i.e., spend time] with’’ (a measure of peer
acceptance). Students were instructed that they could circle as
many or as few names as they liked. At posttest, students were
presented with a blank list of their classmates, so they made their
new nominations from scratch. Because the study was conducted
during the latter half of the school year, students in each classroom
already knew each other and were relatively unlikely to continue
to make new friends spontaneously. Pre-post changes in self-
reports and peer nominations were analyzed using multilevel
modeling to account for students’ nesting within classrooms. No
baseline condition differences were found on any outcome
variables. Further details about method and results are available
from the first author.
Consistent with previous research, overall, students in both the
kindness and whereabouts groups showed significant increases in
positive affect (c
= 0.15, S.E. = 0.04, t
= 3.66, p,.001) and
marginally significant increases in life satisfaction (c
= 0.09,
S.E. = 0.05, t
= 1.73, p = .08) and happiness (c
= 0.11,
S.E. = 0.08, t
= 1.50, p = .13). No significant differences were
detected between the kindness and whereabouts groups on any of
these variables (all ps..18). Results of t-tests mirrored these
analyses, with both groups independently demonstrating increases
in positive affect, happiness, and life satisfaction (all ts.1.67, all
All students increased in the raw number of peer nominations
they received from classmates (c
= 0.68, S.E. = 0.27, t
= 2.37,
p = .02), but those who performed kind acts (M = +1.57;
SD = 1.90) increased significantly more than those who visited
places (M = +0.71; SD = 2.17), c
= 0.83, S.E. = 0.39, t
= 2.10,
p = .05, gaining an average of 1.5 friends. The model excluded
a nonsignificant term controlling for classroom size (p= .12), which
did not affect the significance of the kindness term. The effects of
changes in life satisfaction, happiness, and positive affect on peer
acceptance were tested in subsequent models and all found to be
nonsignificant (all ps..54). When controlling for changes in well-
being, the effect of the kindness condition on peer acceptance
remained significant. Hence, changes in well-being did not predict
changes in peer acceptance, and the effect of performing acts of
kindness on peer acceptance was over and above the effect of
changes in well-being.
Our study demonstrates that doing good for others benefits the
givers, earning them not only improved well-being but also
popularity. Considering the importance of happiness [27–28] and
peer acceptance in youth [21–22], it is noteworthy that we
succeeded in increasing both among preadolescents through
a simple prosocial activity. Similar to being happy [29], being
well-liked by classmates has ramifications not only for the
individual, but also for the community at large. For example,
well-liked preadolescents exhibit more inclusive behaviors and less
externalizing behaviors (i.e., less bullying) as teens [20]. Thus,
encouraging prosocial activities may have ripple effects beyond
increasing the happiness and popularity of the doers (cf. [30]).
Furthermore, classrooms with an even distribution of popularity
(i.e., no favorite children and no marginalized children) show
better average mental health than stratified classrooms [8],
suggesting that entire classrooms practicing prosocial behavior
may reap benefits, as the liking of all classmates soars. Teachers
and interventionists can build on our work by introducing
intentional prosocial activities into classrooms and recommending
that such activities be performed regularly and purposefully.
Author Contributions
Conceived and designed the experiments: KL SKN EO KAS SL.
Performed the experiments: KL EO. Analyzed the data: KL SKN.
Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: KL SKN EO KAS SL.
Wrote the paper: KL SKN EO KAS SL.
1. Diener ML, Lucas RE (2004) Adults’ desires for children’s emotions across 48
countries. J Cross Cult Psychol 35: 525–547.
2. Wang S, Tamis-Lemonda CS (2003) Do child-rearing values in Taiwan and the
United States reflect cultural values of collectivism and individualism? J Cross
Cult Psychol 34: 629–642.
3. Aknin LB, Dunn EW, Norton MI (2012) Happiness runs in a circular motion:
Evidence for a positive feedback loop between prosocial spending and happiness.
J Happiness Stud 11: 347–355.
4. Krueger RF, Hicks BM, McGue M (2001) Altruism and antisocial behavior:
Independent tendencies, unique personality cor relates, distinct etiologies.
Psychol Sci 12: 397–402.
5. Lyubomirsky S, Tkach C, DiMatteo MR (2006) What are the differences
between happiness and self-esteem? Soc Indic Res 78: 363–404.
6. Cillessen AHN, Rose AJ (2005) Understanding popularity in the peer system.
Curr Dir Psychol Sci 14: 102–105.
7. Holder MD, Coleman B (2008) The contribution of temperament, popularity,
and physical appearance to children’s happiness. J of Happiness Stud 9: 279–
Kind Acts Boost Peer Acceptance and Well-Being
PLOS ONE | 2 December 2012 | Volume 7 | Issue 12 | e51380
8. Ostberg V (2003) Children in classrooms: Peer status, status distribution and
mental well-being. Soc Sci and Med 56: 17–29.
9. Aknin LB, Hamlin JK, Dunn EW (2012) Giving leads to happiness in young
children. PLoS ONE 7: e39211.
10. Dunn EW, Aknin LB, Norton MI (2008) Spending money on others promotes
happiness. Science 319: 1687–1688.
11. Lyubomirsky S, Sheldon KM, Schkade D (2005) Pursuing happiness: The
architecture of sustainable change. Rev Gen Psychol 9: 111–131.
12. Weinstein N, Ryan RM (2010). When helping helps: Autonomo us motivation
for prosocial behavior and its influence on well-being for the helper and
recipient. J Pers Soc Psychol 98: 222–244.
13. Sin NL, Lyubomirsky S (2009) Enhancing well-being and alleviating depressive
symptoms with positive psychology interventions: A practice-friendly meta-
analysis. J Clin Psychol 65: 467–487.
14. Froh JJ, Kashdan TB, Ozimkowski KM, Miller NM (2009) Who benefits the
most from a gratitude intervention in children and adolescents? Examining
positive affect as a moderator. J Posit Psychol 4: 408–422.
15. Froh JJ, Sefick WJ, Emmons RA (2008) Counting blessings in early adolescents:
An experimental study of gratitude and subjective well-being. J Sch Psychol 46:
16. Caprara CV, Barabaranelli C, Pastorelli C, Bandura A, Zimbardo PG (2000)
Prosocial foundations of children‘s academic achievement. Psychol Sci 11: 302–
17. Rottenberg J, Ray RD, Gross JJ (2007). Emotion elicitation using films. In Coan
JA, Allen JJB, eds. Handbook of Emotion Elicitation and Assessment. New York:
Oxford University Press. 9–28.
18. Van Dillen LF, Koole SL (2007) Clearing the mind: A working memory model
of distraction from negative mood. Emotion 7: 715–723.
19. Warneken F, Tomasello M (2006) Altruistic helping in human infants and young
chimpanzees. Science 311: 1301–1303.
20. Sandstrom MJ, Cillessen AHN (2006) Likeable versus popular: Distinct
implications for adolescent adjustment. Int J Behav Dev 30: 305–314.
21. Wentzel KR (2005) Peer relationships, motivation, and academic performa nce
at school. In: Elliot A, Dweck C, eds. Handbook of Competence and Motivation.
New York: Guilford. 279–296.
22. Wentzel KR, Baker S, Russell S (2009) Peer re lationships and positive
adjustment at school. In Gilman R, Huebner ES, Furlong MJ, eds. Handbook
of Positive Psychology in Schools. New York: Routledge. 229–243.
23. de Bruyn EH, van den Boom DC (2005) Interpersonal be havior, peer
popularity, and self-esteem in early adolescence. Soc Dev 14: 555–573.
24. Gaderman AM, Schonert-Reichl KA, Zumbo BD (2010) Investigating validity
evidence of the Satisfaction With Life Scale adapted for children. Soc Indic Res
96: 229–247.
25. Holder MD, Klassen A (2010) Temperament and happiness in children.
J Happiness Stud 11: 419–439.
26. Laurent J, Cantanzaro SJ, Joiner TE Jr, Rudolph KD, Potter KI, et al. (1999) A
measure of positive and negative affect for children: Scale development and
preliminary validation. Psychol Assess 11: 326–338.
27. Suldo S, Thalji A, Ferron J (2011) Longitudinal academic outcomes predicted by
early adolescents’ subjective well-being, psychopathology, and mental health
status yielded from a dual factor model. J Posit Psychol 6: 17–30.
28. Richards M, Huppert FA (2011) Do positive children become positi ve adults?
Evidence from a longitudinal birth cohort study. J Posit Psychol 6: 75–87.
29. Lyubomirsky S, King LA, Diener E (2005) The benefits of frequent positive
affect: Does happiness lead to success? Psychol Bull 131: 803–855.
30. Fowler JH, Christakis NA (2010). Cooperative behavior cascades in human
social networks. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 107: 5334–5338.
Kind Acts Boost Peer Acceptance and Well-Being
PLOS ONE | 3 December 2012 | Volume 7 | Issue 12 | e51380
... Two recent meta-analyses found that prosocial activities produce a small positive effect on "emotional well-being"-a catch-all term that includes happiness, eudaimonic well-being, positive affect, psychological flourishing, and the absence of negative emotions [17,21]. Prosocial effects have been observed among children as well as adults and in samples across the world [17,[22][23][24][25][26][27]. Aknin et al. [22] speculate the "warm glow" of giving might be a universal component of human psychology. ...
... Third, future work should seek to replicate our results in a variety of populations. Past work has found emotionally beneficial effects of prosocial behavior in samples of students, community members, online respondents, clinical samples, corporate workers, and children [10,[13][14][15]22,26,64]. However, some populations (students, online respondents) and some outcomes (happiness, positive affect) have been more thoroughly studied than others. ...
Full-text available
Background The COVID-19 pandemic, the accompanying lockdown measures, and their possible long-term effects have made mental health a pressing public health concern. Acts that focus on benefiting others-known as prosocial behaviors-offer one promising intervention that is both flexible and low cost. However, neither the range of emotional states prosocial acts impact nor the size of those effects is currently clear-both of which directly influence its attractiveness as a treatment option.Objective To assess the effect of prosocial activity on emotional well-being (happiness, belief that one's life is valuable) and mental health (anxiety, depression).Methods1,234 respondents from the United States and Canada were recruited from Amazon's Mechanical Turk and randomly assigned (by computer software) to perform prosocial (N = 411), self-focused (N = 423), or neutral (N = 400) behaviors three times a week for three weeks. A follow-up assessment was given two weeks after the intervention. Participants were blind to alternative conditions. Analyses were based on 1052 participants (Nprosocial = 347, Nself = 365, Nneutral = 340).FindingsThose in the prosocial condition did not differ on any outcome from those in the self-focused or neutral acts conditions during the intervention or at follow-up, nor did prosocial effects differ for those who had been negatively affected socially or economically by the pandemic (all p's > 0.05). Exploratory analyses that more tightly controlled for study compliance found that prosocial acts reduced anxiety relative to neutral acts control (β = -0.12 [95% CI: -0.22 to -0.02]) and increased the belief that one's life is valuable (β = 0.11 [95% CI: 0.03 to 0.19]). These effects persisted throughout the intervention and at follow-up.Conclusion Prosocial acts may provide small, lasting benefits to emotional well-being and mental health. Future work should replicate these results using tighter, pre-registered controls on study compliance.
... Relatedly, acts of kindness -where children offer kind words or actions to others -have been found to be highly beneficial for the giver in addition to the receiver. For example, performing acts of kindness is associated with increased happiness in young children (Aknin et al., 2012) as well as increased wellbeing and peer acceptance in elementary school children (Layous et al., 2012). Importantly, performing acts of kindness has stronger effects for the giver when they provide opportunities for social connection (Aknin et al., 2012). ...
Full-text available
In recent years, the school curricula in many European countries have introduced social and emotional learning (SEL). This calls for the teachers to have SEL competencies. The present study evaluates teachers’ and their students’ readiness for SEL during an intervention in five European countries. The participants were teachers (n = 402) in five European countries; Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, and Spain. The pre-and post-measuring points for both the intervention and the comparison group were at approximately the same time before and after the intervention. Comparison data consisted of 159 teachers in the same countries. The training for the intervention group lasted 16 h for the teachers and a maximum of 16 h for the principles and headmasters. An additional 9 h of further monitoring took place. There were two student groups participating in the study: the age group of 8–11 years (pre-puberty) and the age group of 12–15 years (adolescents). Students, whose teachers had participated in the intervention, formed the intervention group (n = 2,552). Those students, whose teachers did not participate in the intervention, formed the comparison group (n = 1,730). The questionnaire data were collected at the beginning and at the end of the school year for both age groups. The results indicated that there was a favourable development in the intervention group in some of the measured skills among students, but the effects were different for the two age groups. This study adds to both theoretical and practical development of continuing teacher training about SEL and its possible role in reducing problem behaviour among the students.
... Prosociality is a term alike variety of forms of behavior including altruism , cooperation (Margana et al., 2019), heroism (Margana et al., 2019), fairness (Bhogal et al., 2016(Bhogal et al., , 2017, and trustworthiness (Ehlebracht et al., 2018). Series of studies (Batson, 1987;Batson et al., 1987;Batson, 1994;Penner et al., 2005;Caprara et al., 2010;Crick, 1996;Layous et al., 2012) indicates there are several aspects linked to prosocial behavior. The major aspects of prosocial behaviors are: ...
... Kindness has been explored in different guises from Aristotle to Darwin (Price, 1989;Seppälä et al., 2017) and continues to be a concern to scholars. Recent studies have demonstrated that kindness improves interpersonal communication and subjective well-being (Algoe et al., 2008;Curry et al., 2018;Hui et al., 2020;Layous, et al., 2012;Shin et al., 2020); acts of kindness performed on a regular basis are documented to activate happiness-neurotransmitters or those parts of the brain associated with well-being (Harbaugh et al., 2007); overall life satisfaction and optimism increase, while anxiety and negative emotions fade (Kerr et al., 2015;Nelson et al., 2016). Moreover, the effect of kindness on longevity is widely established (Brown et al., 2009;Nelson-Coffey et al., 2017), as regular acts of kindness decrease stress (Raposa et al., 2016), pain (Emmons, 2007), and the speed of the aging processes (Hoge et al., 2013;Kok et al., 2013) for the person who performs them. ...
Background. Kindness and acts of kindness have the potential to cause tremendously positive effects on subjective well-being, reflected in improvements in mental and physical health, and interpersonal relationships. Fostering knowledge about kindness may help in self-development and psychotherapeutic interventions aimed to improve an individual’s emotional well-being. However, existing research data and understanding of this phenomenon in Russia, as well as descriptions of acts of kindness, are presently relatively limited. Objective. To study the Russian understanding of kindness, its meaning in the Russian context; to categorize a variety of identified acts of kindness; and to define kindness based on the data derived from a Russian sample. Design. There were 291 Russian participants, recruited using an online recruiting platform, who filled out an online questionnaire that identified definitions of kindness with corresponding examples. Also captured in the sample were the participant’s age, gender, and religiosity. The data underwent qualitative analysis through open, axial, and focused coding. Results. As a result of qualitative analysis, four theme categories emerged to define kindness: a) personal states and qualities (one’s own states and self-perception, moral values and qualities, self-regulation and emotional stability); b) openness to others (attention to others, love and positive attitude); c) emotional and cognitive understanding of others and tolerance, actions and behavior (altruistic sacrifice, help, politeness and respect, forgiveness, generosity, pleasing actions). Concrete examples of kind acts and behavior were categorized. A definition of kindness was formulated based on the data. Conclusion. The research results can be used in training, counselling, and therapeutic sessions to increase subjective well-being. Directions for further research have been defined.
... In fact, research in social and personality psychology has established that positive emotions and psychological traits are malleable and can be improved in most contexts [76][77][78]. For instance, many experiences and interventions, such as counting blessings [79][80][81], visualizing one's best possible self [82,83], loving-kindness meditation [84,85], experiencing or witnessing kindness [86,87], engaging in prosocial behavior [88][89][90], and mindfulness practices [91][92][93], have been shown to be effective in increasing positive emotions and psychological traits. Furthermore, research has shown that positive emotions and psychological traits can be cultivated through several important factors, such as increasing trust [94][95][96], increasing social engagement and support [97,98], reducing conflicts and stressors [99][100][101], inducing a sense of meaning [102,103], promoting inclusiveness and diversity [104,105], and, most importantly, increasing exposure to positive experiences and emotions [16,78,106]. ...
Full-text available
With the rapid speed of globalization and technological breakthroughs, current social issues have become more complex than in past decades. As many issues such as pandemics, terrorism, and interracial conflict are realistically unpredictable, the idea of resilience offers an intuitively plausible and attainable strategy to deal with these potential adversities. The current narrative review explores the cultivation of positive emotions and traits as a plausible way to achieve a resilient society. Based on research in the social and industrial organizational psychology literature, we reviewed the role of positive emotions and traits on resilience. Lastly, we highlight important experiences and interventions that have been shown to be effective in cultivating positivity and discuss several potential considerations and boundary conditions.
Extant research has produced conflicting findings regarding the link between social fearfulness and prosocial behavior, with some studies reporting negative relations and others reporting null effects. Furthermore, these studies have focused predominantly on toddlerhood, and few have examined prosociality between peers. The present study investigated whether the link between social anxiety and prosocial behavior (i.e., providing encouragement) varied depending on interpersonal and situational factors (i.e., one's familiarity with a peer, and the level of support sought by a peer, respectively). We tested this question using a multimethod approach, which included ecologically valid stress‐inducing task and dyadic design with a sample of 9‐ to 10‐year‐olds (N = 447). Results revealed that social anxiety was related negatively to providing encouragement among familiar and unfamiliar dyads. In familiar dyads, however, this main effect was qualified by an interaction with the level of support sought by one's peer. Compared to those low in social anxiety, children high in social anxiety provided relatively less encouragement in response to higher levels of support seeking from their peers. The findings are considered in relation to theorizing regarding the effect of overarousal on children's prosocial behavior.
Esse artigo buscou fazer uma revisão de literatura sobre o tema a percepção da imagem corporal de indivíduos à luz da psicologia positiva. O método adotado na formulação deste trabalho, encontra-se em concordância com a proposta de estudo, adequado por meio dos objetivos a serem alcançados. O desenvolvimento da ciência tem como base o alcance de resultados que permite validar hipóteses sobre determinado acontecimento ou fato, presente em nossas vidas, ou não. Assim, o objetivo geral deste trabalho, busca apresentar a percepção da imagem corporal de indivíduos à luz da psicologia positiva. Os objetivos específicos pretendem apresentar e definir a psicologia positiva, bem como destacar os conceitos sobre a imagem corporal, conceituar e definir a perda de peso, e por fim, apresentar a influência da psicologia positiva na perda de peso. Por fim, este artigo deixa o tema em aberto, propondo que no futuro se realize uma nova pesquisa, com a finalidade de contextualizar os temas aqui abordados. Juntamente com esta nova pesquisa, sugere-se a realização de um estudo de caso, para o qual propõe-se uma análise de campo de como a psicologia positiva influência as pessoas em sua busca pelo peso ideal.
Full-text available
As most studies on the link between peer status and prosocial behavior are cross-sectional, conducted with children, and operationalize status as the difference between acceptance and rejection, it remains unclear whether peer acceptance and rejection are consequences or prerequisites of prosocial behavior in adolescence. To fill this gap, this study examines the bidirectional associations of prosocial behavior with peer acceptance and peer rejection with data collected at 3 time points, 6 months apart, in a sample of 660 early Chilean adolescents (M = 12.94, SD = 0.62; 55.1% boys). Cross-lagged panel analyses showed that prosocial behavior positively predicted future peer acceptance, whereas peer acceptance had no significant effect on future prosocial behavior. The association between rejection and prosocial behavior was negative and bidirectional between Time 1 and Time 2. When a new academic year began, between Time 2 and Time 3, prosocial behavior negatively predicted rejection, whereas rejection in the previous grade level was positively associated with prosocial behavior at the beginning of the next grade. Multi-group panel analyses did not detect significant differences between boys and girls in the cross-lagged associations of prosociality with peer acceptance and peer rejection. The results suggest that acting prosocially can make adolescents better liked by their peers and highlight the possible importance of the transition to a new academic year for the prosocial behavior of previously rejected students. Implications for future research on peer relations are discussed.
Full-text available
Objective: This study tested the effect of personal values (motivation) and sustained attention (cognitive ability) on children's helping behavior. Method: Children (N = 162, age range 8-9 years, mean = 8.81, SD =.43) completed value ranking and go/no-go tasks, and their helping behavior was examined. Results: Children who valued self-transcendence over self-enhancement helped more than others. Surprisingly, children's lack of sustained attention was associated with more helping among those who valued self-transcendence over self-enhancement or openness-to-change over conservation values. Valuing both self-transcendence and openness-to-change was also associated with more helping. Conclusions: Children are more likely to help others if they value self-transcendence and openness to change. Notably, children's tendency to act upon these values may be facilitated (rather than obstructed by) low attention skills.
Full-text available
In the current study, 466 children completed a peer nomination survey assessing both perceived and sociometric popularity at the end of the 5th grade. Measures of behavior problems were assessed through a composite of peer-, teacher- and self-reports at the end of the 8th grade. Examination of the unique concurrent associations of each popularity type with peer nominated social characteristics in 5th grade demonstrated that sociometric popularity was positively associated with prosocial behavior and inclusive behavior, while perceived popularity was positively associated with overt and relational aggression. In addition to emerging as distinct conceptual constructs, these two dimensions of popularity also demonstrated unique associations with adjustment over time. Sociometric popularity in the 5th grade was associated with lower levels of externalizing behavior problems 3 years later, while perceived popularity was associated with higher levels of these problems over time. Interestingly, high levels of perceived popularity in the 5th grade were associated with less internalizing symptoms over time for boys, while high levels of sociometric popularity were associated with less internalizing symptoms over time for girls.
Full-text available
This longitudinal investigation examined the utility of subjective well-being (SWB) and psychopathology in predicting subsequent academic achievement and in-school behavior in 300 middle school students. Initial SWB predicted students’ grade point averages (GPAs) 1 year later, initial internalizing psychopathology predicted absences 1 year later, and initial externalizing psychopathology predicted grades, absences, and discipline problems 1 year later. Students’ grades and attendance across time varied as a function of mental health group yielded from a dual factor model. Specifically, students in the troubled mental health group declined at a significantly faster rate on GPAs than youth without psychopathology. In contrast, students in the symptomatic but content group were not significantly different from peers with low psychopathology. At Time 2, the best attendance, grades, and math skills were found among students who had both average/high SWB and low psychopathology 1 year earlier, supporting the long-term utility of complete mental health.
The present study examined college students' desires for their children's emotions across cultures. A total of 10,175 respondents from 48 countries on six continents participated. Across nations, people desired high levels of happiness and fearlessness for their children. The desire for anger suppression showed greater variability than desires for happiness and fearlessness. Greater desires for happiness were predicted by being female, by greater individual and national levels of positive affect, by greater beliefs about the appropriateness of positive affect, and by individualism. Greater desires for fearlessness were predicted for sons versus daughters, by being male, by greater individual levels of and beliefs about the appropriateness of positive affect, by lower national wealth, and by higher national levels of negative affect and greater beliefs about the appropriateness of worrying. Greater desires for anger suppression were predicted for sons versus daughters, by being male, by greater individual and national levels of negative affect, and by lower national wealth.
Eighty-one middle-class mothers of 3- and 4-year-old children from urban cities in Taiwan and the United States were interviewed about their child-rearing values. Three methods were used to assess values: open-ended probes, Likert-type ratings, and ordering of values according to importance. Child-rearing values could be grouped into five broad categories: individuality, achievement, proper demeanor, decency, and connectedness. U.S. mothers' child-rearing values were somewhat consistent with an individualistic orientation, yet they considered values associated with connectedness to be most important. Taiwanese mothers' child-rearing values were less focused on any specific category. Findings from the three methods suggest that child-rearing values in Taiwan and the United States cannot be dichotomized as collectivist or individualist. Mothers in the two societies embraced both individualist and collectivist values.
A child version of the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS; D. Watson et al, see record 1988-31508-001), the PANAS-C, was developed using students in Grades 4–8 ( N = 707). Item selection was based on psychometric and theoretical grounds. The resulting Negative Affect (NA) and Positive Affect (PA) scales demonstrated good convergent and discriminant validity with existing self-report measures of childhood anxiety and depression; the PANAS-C performed much like its adult namesake. Overall, the PANAS-C, like the adult PANAS, is a brief, useful measure that can be used to differentiate anxiety from depression in youngsters. As such, this instrument addresses the shortcomings of existing measures of childhood anxiety and depression. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
The pursuit of happiness is an important goal for many people. However, surprisingly little scientific research has focused on the question of how happiness can be increased and then sustained, probably because of pessimism engendered by the concepts of genetic determinism and hedonic adaptation. Nevertheless, emerging sources of optimism exist regarding the possibility of permanent increases in happiness. Drawing on the past well-being literature, the authors propose that a person's chronic happiness level is governed by 3 major factors: a genetically determined set point for happiness, happiness-relevant circumstantial factors, and happiness-relevant activities and practices. The authors then consider adaptation and dynamic processes to show why the activity category offers the best opportunities for sustainably increasing happiness. Finally, existing research is discussed in support of the model, including 2 preliminary happiness-increasing interventions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Much research has focused on youth who are rejected by peers; who engage in negative behavior, including aggression; and who are at risk for adjustment problems. Recently, researchers have become increasingly interested in high-status youth. A distinction is made between two groups of high-status youth: those who are genuinely well liked by their peers and engage in predominantly prosocial behaviors and those who are seen as popular by their peers but are not necessarily well liked. The latter group of youth is well known, socially central, and emulated; but displays a mixed profle of prosocial as well as aggressive and manipulative behaviors. Research now needs to address the distinctive characteristics of these two groups and their developmental precursors and consequences. Of particular interest are high-status and socially powerful aggressors and their impact on their peers. The heterogeneity of high-status youth complicates the understanding of the social dynamics of the peer group, but will lead to new and important insights into the developmental significance of peer relationships.