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Title:Altruistic and antisocial behaviors in children: An examination from the self-regulation model
Author(s):Goldberg, Meredyth Ellen
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Kanfer, Frederick H.
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Psychology, Clinical
Abstract:Altruism is a complex phenomenon which has been the subject of much empirical investigation. The present study sought to explore altruistic behavior in children within the self-regulation model espoused by Kanfer and his colleagues. This model suggests that altruistic behavior is a function of: self- and situational-monitoring, prosocial goals, self-control, and self-evaluation/self-reinforcement abilities. Furthermore, Kanfer and Rehm posit that depressed mood should inhibit self-regulation abilities and therefore, impede altruism whereas Cialdini suggests that depressed mood facilitates helping to lessen depression.
The current study tested the Self-regulation paradigm as well as the two competing theories regarding depressed mood in a sample of 8-11 year old, clinic-referred and non clinic-referred children. It was hypothesized that altruistic behaviors would be most frequent for children high in the self-regulation skills of self- and situational-monitoring, prosocial goal-setting, and self-control. Moreover, it was predicted that children would be most likely to donate points to help an absent child when the cues for helping are highly salient and when there is a low conflict for altruistic behavior. It was further hypothesized that children higher in antisocial behaviors (such as those seen in clinic-referred children) would have more self-regulation deficits, endorse greater antisocial goals, and donate less points. Finally, the effect of mood on self-regulation and altruism was explored to determine which of the two competing theories was supported.
The results of the present study supported the conceptualization of altruistic and antisocial behaviors from a self-regulation paradigm. Children higher in acting-out behaviors displayed less altruism and less empathy. Furthermore, these children endorsed fewer prosocial goals and had lower levels of self-control. Salience of cues for helping was also highly predictive of altruism, although conflict level did not predict donations. Additionally, it was found that depressed mood inhibited self-regulation abilities as predicted by Kanfer and Rehm rather than facilitated these abilities as posited by Cialdini and his colleagues. The implications of these results were discussed with regard to the development of intervention strategies aimed at increasing prosocial behaviors in conduct-disordered, acting-out children.
Issue Date:1992
Rights Information:Copyright 1992 Goldberg, Meredyth Ellen
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9215818
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9215818

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