Prosocial Behaviour and Psychopathology: An Eleven Year Longitudinal Study of Intra-Individual Reciprocal Relations During Childhood and Adolescence

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JournalPsyArXiv Preprints
DateSubmitted - 2020
Original languageEnglish


The current study investigated whether prosocial behaviour and psychopathology are longitudinally uni- or bidirectionally related. Parents in the United Kingdom reported on their child’s psychopathology and prosocial behaviour at ages 3, 5, 7, 11, and 14 years (N = 16,984, 51% male, 83% White). Four random intercept cross lagged panel models demonstrated negative reciprocal within-person relations between prosocial behaviour and emotional, peer, conduct, and hyperactivity and inattention problems. The effects of psychopathology on prosocial behaviour were stronger than of prosocial behaviour on psychopathology. Generally speaking, the effects strengthened through childhood and remained stable during adolescence. Relations between prosocial behaviour and conduct problems became increasingly incompatible. These findings provide further evidence for positive and negative developmental cascades throughout childhood and adolescence.

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