Socialization of prosocial behavior in the preschool classroom

Nancy Eisenberg, Ellen Cameron, Kelly Tryon, Renee Dodez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


Videotaped the naturally occurring classroom behaviors of 33 preschool children 51-63 mo old. Instances of prosocial, defensive, and social behaviors were coded, as well as peer and teacher reactions to prosocial behaviors. Although teachers responded positively to Ss' prosocial behaviors only a small percentage of the time, peers reacted positively a moderate proportion of the time. Ss who frequently responded to requests for prosocial behavior received fewer positive reactions from peers than Ss who complied with requests less often. In contrast, teachers were more likely to react positively to girls who exhibited high levels of "asked for" (compliant) prosocial behaviors. The type of reactions an S received for prosocial behaviors was related both to the type of reactions given to others' prosocial behaviors and to positive sociability. Frequent performance of spontaneous prosocial actions was related to a different pattern of behaviors than was frequency of prosocial behaviors in response to a request. (21 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)773-782
Number of pages10
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 1981


  • socialization of prosocial classroom behavior, 4.2-5.2 yr olds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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