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13 November 2013

Promoting Prosocial Behavior in Tweens Boosts Well-Being and Popularity

Keywords: happiness, popularity, prosocial, tweens, experiment, print,

Telling kids to be kind to others also benefits themselves, says a study in PLOS ONE. In a rigorous long-term investigation, the researchers shows that an intervention program can encourage children’s prosocial behavior. Moreover, doing good for others improves peer popularity.

Take aways

  • Intervention programs can encourage prosocial behavior in children.
  • Encouraging prosocial behavior improves children’s popularity among peers.

Study information

  • The question?

    Is encouraging prosocial behavior in tweens related to increases in well-being and peer popularity?

  • Who?

    415 9- to 11-years olds (mean age = 10.6 years)

  • Where?

    Vancouver, Canada

  • How?

    Every week over the course of four weeks, children were instructed to perform three acts of kindness. Kind acts included “give your mom a hug when she is stressed” and “give someone some of your lunch”.

    Before and after the intervention, students filled out a questionnaire assessing their life satisfaction, happiness, and positive feelings. Moreover, children were asked to name the classmates they liked.

Facts and findings

  • After the intervention, children reported higher life satisfaction, happiness, and more positive feelings.
  • Children who performed kind acts received more peer nominations, gaining an average of 1.5 friends.