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Familial Underpinnings of the Prosocial Behavior

Thu, April 12, 1:15 to 2:15pm, Hilton, Floor: Second Floor, Marquette Ballroom


The “greening” of individual behaviors is an important component of mitigating climate change and other human-caused environmental problems (Dietz et al., 2009). Pro-environmental behaviors are “prosocial”—they benefit others, often with some direct costs to the actor (Schmitt et al., 2017). In this study, we see pro-environmental behavior as more general behavior that contribute to the health of the natural environment by contributing to the closer community and use term prosocial behavior. Prosocial behaviors are beneficial not only for the broader environment, but for adolescent’s adjustment (Eisenberg et al., 2015) and successful youth development (Lerner et al., 2002) as well. Parents have been highlighted as significant agents in the socialization of prosocial behavior in adolescents (Padilla-Walker et al., 2016). According to the self-determination (SDT) theory, there are three most important aspects of parenting: autonomy support, behavioral control, and psychological control (Joussemet et al., 2008). Thus, this study aims to investigate the longitudinal relations between parenting practices and adolescents` prosocial behavior.
The sample size for this study was N = 458 (52.2% girls). The age of participants ranged from 14 to 17 (M=15.14, SD=0.48) at T1. The sample was diverse in terms of family and socio-economic backgrounds. For measuring prosocial behavior, the contribution to community subscale from the Three-dimensional Contribution Scale (3DCON, Truskauskaitė-Kunevičienė & Kaniušonytė, under review) was used. Three dimensions of parenting was used: Behavioral control (Parental Monitoring scale, Small & Kerns, 1993); Psychological control (assessed separately for mother and father using Psychological Control Scale-Youth Self Report, PCS-YSR; Barber 1996); and Autonomy supportive parenting (assessed separately for mother and father using Transformational Parenting Questionnaire; Morton et al., 2011).
Multidimensional growth mixture modeling (LCGA) was conducted to investigate different latent class solutions for perceived parental behavior. An optimal four class solution was selected. Analysis of the contribution to community as continuous outcome of the perceived parental behavior revealed that adolescents in the fourth perceived parental behavior class (high autonomy support, high behavioral control, and low psychological control parents) had highest means of the contribution to community. The third class (medium autonomy support, high behavioral control, and high psychological control parents) has the lowest means of the contribution to community.
Summarizing the results, we can conclude that positive parenting expressed as autonomy support, adequate behavioral control without psychological control is beneficial for the adolescents prosociality.