Is it bad to be good? An exploration of aggressive and prosocial behavior subtypes in adolescence

Paul Boxer, Marie S. Tisak, Sara Goldstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Research in aggressive behavior development has distinguished between proactive (i.e., intended to achieve an instrumental goal) and reactive (i.e., emitted as an emotional response to provocation) subtypes of aggression. A similar distinction has not been made with regard to prosocial behavior. In this study, subtypes of both aggressive and prosocial behavior and their relation to aggression-supporting social cognitions were examined in a sample of 250 early and middle adolescents. Adolescents completed behavior rating scales and a measure of their beliefs about the acceptability of responding aggressively. Principal components analysis identified 3 subtypes of aggressive and prosocial behavior: aggressive, prosocial, and proactive prosocial. Proactive prosocial behavior was positively correlated with aggression and aggression-supporting beliefs, while other prosocial behavior was negatively correlated with these constructs. Findings are discussed in the context of aggressive behavior development and with regard to traditional views of prosocial behavior as altruistic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-100
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
Volume33
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2004

Fingerprint

adolescence
aggression
aggressive behavior
Aggression
adolescent
provocation
social cognition
rating scale
Adolescent Behavior
Principal Component Analysis
Cognition
Research

Keywords

  • Aggression
  • Normative/acceptability beliefs
  • Prosocial behavior

Cite this

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Is it bad to be good? An exploration of aggressive and prosocial behavior subtypes in adolescence. / Boxer, Paul; Tisak, Marie S.; Goldstein, Sara.

In: Journal of Youth and Adolescence, Vol. 33, No. 2, 01.04.2004, p. 91-100.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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