The role of living environments on empathy and prosocial behaviours development in adolescence.

Abstract : Adolescence is a significant period in life that is characterized by major changes that have been theoretically and empirically related to changes in social environments. Adolescents different living environments offer the “playground” to explore, to test, to develop and integrate social cues and crucial abilities that are necessary for social interaction, such as prosocial behaviours. During adolescence, peer relationships become more salient and prominent than in any other period in life. Away from the family and the school context, adolescents spend a large amount of time in activities with peers. Among these activities we focused on extracurricular activity participation, that have been conceptualised as an important developmental context of adolescents’ livesThe first aim of this dissertation was to provide more insight into the role of living environments in relation to empathy and prosocial behaviours in adolescence. We developed and examined an integrative model of the relations between positive and negative living environment features, adolescents’ perceptions of prosocial behaviours across the three contexts (family, class and extracurricular peer group) and their own prosocial behaviours, taking into account the potential mediating role of empathy.The second aim was to provide more insight into the bidirectional longitudinal relations between empathy and prosocial behaviours during adolescence, with a special focus on the within-person processes.Finally, the third aim of this dissertation was to provide more insight into adolescents’ prosocial behaviours and empathy developmental trajectories considering extracurricular activity participation.This dissertation used data from a 3-Wave longitudinal study gathered during the three years of the PhD with data collected at one-year intervals. Adolescents answered questions concerning the features of the living environment, their peer group’s and parents’ prosocial behaviours, extracurricular activity participation, and their own empathy and prosocial behaviour.Our findings suggest that extracurricular peer group features, family features (particularly the negative ones) and extracurricular peer group and parents’ prosocial behaviours play a major role in adolescents’ prosocial behaviours via empathy in adolescence.Therefore, we found that empathy is a driver of prosocial behaviours. We also identified that latent class growth for empathy and prosocial behaviour were different in the extracurricular activity group for which there was no downward trend trajectory over time compared to the non-extracurricular group.Using one approach across three living environments allowed us to capture the common and specific features of the family, school and extracurricular peer group contexts that influence adolescents’ prosocial behaviours. Furthermore, our results highlighted the need to acknowledge the between person differences and the within-person processes of development. Moreover, it is important to consider the heterogeneity of developmental trajectories concerning empathy and prosocial behaviours during adolescence if we want to capture the complex interplay between family, class, extracurricular peer group, empathy and prosocial development.
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Alexia Carrizales. The role of living environments on empathy and prosocial behaviours development in adolescence.. Psychology. Université de Bordeaux, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018BORD0246⟩. ⟨tel-02049556⟩

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