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Violence Research Centre

 

Does aggressive behaviour impede engagement in prosocial behaviour? Does prosocial behaviour reduce the engagement in aggressive behaviour over time? Do peer difficulties impact on how these two behaviours are related over time?

Answers to these questions were explored in this study based on multi-informant data from the Zurich Project on the Social Development of Children. The findings suggest that increases in aggression are related to later decreases in prosocial behaviour. They also provide support for the role of peer difficulties in explaining this link – more aggressive children have difficulties with peers, which may result in fewer opportunities to learn/engage in prosocial behaviours. Notably, the findings did not support a link between prosocial behaviours and later decreases in aggression.  If replicated the findings would have important implications for programmes focusing on preventing or decreasing aggressive behaviour. 

Curious to learn more? Download the full study from our website: http://www.vrc.crim.cam.ac.uk/PDFs/obsuthprosocial

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