Prosocial development in early adulthood: A longitudinal study

Nancy Eisenberg, Ivanna K. Guthrie, Amanda Cumberland, Bridget C. Murphy, Stephanie A. Shepard, Qing Zhou, Gustavo Carlo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

256 Scopus citations


Consistency of measures of a prosocial personality and prosocial moral judgment over time, and the interrelations among them, were examined. Participants' and friends' reports of prosocial characteristics were obtained at ages 21-22, 23-24, and 25-26 years. In addition, participants' prosocial judgment was assessed with interviews and with an objective measure of prosocial moral reasoning at several ages. Reports of prosocial behavior and empathy-related responding in childhood and observations of prosocial behavior in preschool also were obtained. There was interindividual consistency in prosocial dispositions, and prosocial dispositions in adulthood related to empathy/sympathy and prosocial behavior at much younger ages. Interview and objective measures of moral reasoning were substantially interrelated in late adolescence/early adulthood and correlated with participants' and friends' reports of a prosocial disposition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)993-1006
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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