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Influence of Parent-child Relationship, Peer Affiliation and Normative Beliefs about Aggression on Adolescent’s Prosocial Behavior

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

Abstract/Description

Prosocial behavior is correlated with a series of positive developmental constructs for adolescents (Nelson et al. 2014; Caputi, Lecce, Pagnin, & Banerjee, 2012; Carprara et al. 2014) and also inverse correlated with a series of negative constructs (White, Fleming, Kim, Catalano, & Mcmorris, 2008; Mahoney, 2000), it plays an important role on adolescents’ healthy growth. Current research points out that the parent-child relationship and peer affiliation has great impact on adolescents' prosocial behavior (Kerns, Mathews, Koehn, Williams, & Siener-Ciesla, 2015; Horrn, Dijk, Meuwese, Rieffe, &Crone, 2014), and normative beliefs about aggression is negative correlate with aggressive behavior (Zhen, Xie, Zhang, Wang, & Li, 2011). In order to integrate the existing research and to identify causal pathways to adolescents’ prosocial behavior, it is necessary to explore how parent-child relationship was associate with adolescents’ prosocial behavior and the mediating role of deviant peer affiliation and normative beliefs about aggression on the pathway. We hypothesized that parent-child relationship was associate with deviant peer affiliation which in turn was associated with normative beliefs about aggression in the prediction of adolescents’ prosocial behavior. Participants for this study included 1401 adolescents (M age = 12.46, SD = .61, 50.2% male) from four junior middle schools in China. They finished anonymous questionnaires on parent-child relationship, prosocial behavior, deviant peer affiliation and normative beliefs about aggression. Given prior research reporting that adolescent gender and family socioeconomic status (SES), were correlated with prosocial behavior (Kuhnert, Begeer, Fink, & Rosnay, 2017; Marianne, & Bethany, 2008), we controlled for these variables in statistical analyses. Structural equation models showed that all the path were significant except the path from deviant peer affiliation to prosocial behavior in the full purpose model ( x2/df = .00, CFI = 1.00, TLI = 1.00, and RMSEA = .00; see Fig. 1). After dropping the path from deviant peer affiliation to prosocial behavior, the fit indices suggested a good fit (x2/df = 1.34, CFI = 1.00, TLI = .99, and RMSEA = .02; see Fig. 2). The trimmed model fits the data better, so we selected the more compact one. The trimmed model showed that parent-child relationship significantly predicted normative beliefs about aggression (b = .22, p < .001), which in turn predicted prosocial behavior(b = .20, p < .001); Parent-child relationship significantly predicted deviant peer affiliation (b = -.24, p < .001) which in turn predicted normative beliefs about aggression (b = -.12, p < .001) in a sequential mediation model. It indicated that a high quality parent-child relationship can predict more prosocial behavior in adolescents through diminishing deviant peer affiliation and encouraging normative beliefs about aggression. Identifying the processes by which the parent-child relationship is associated with adolescents’ prosocial behavior has important implications for adolescents’ development and education.

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