Children's trust and the development of prosocial behavior

Malti, T. and Averdijk, M. and Zuffiano, A. and Ribeaud, D. and Betts, L. R. and Rotenberg, K. J. and Eisner, M. P. (2015) Children's trust and the development of prosocial behavior. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 40 (3). pp. 262-270. ISSN 0165-0254

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This study examined the role of children’s trust beliefs and trustworthiness in the development of prosocial behavior using data from four waves of a longitudinal study in a large, ethnically-diverse sample of children in Switzerland (mean age = 8.11 years at Time 1, N = 1,028). Prosocial behavior directed towards peers was measured at all assessment points by teacher reports. Children’s trust beliefs and their trustworthiness with peers were assessed and calculated by a social relations analysis at the first assessment point using children’s reports of the extent to which classmates kept promises. In addition, teacher reports of children’s trustworthiness were assessed at all four assessment points. Latent growth curve modeling yielded a decrease in prosocial behavior over time. Peer- and teacher-reported trustworthiness predicted higher initial levels of prosocial behavior, and peer-reported trustworthiness predicted less steep decreases in prosocial behavior over time. Autoregressive cross-lagged analysis also revealed bidirectional longitudinal associations between teacher-reported trustworthiness and prosocial behavior. We discuss the implications of the findings for research on the role of trust in the development of children’s prosocial behavior.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information and Comments: This is the author's post peer review version of an article, the final version of which is published in the Sage Publications International Journal of Behavioral Development. Available at
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Science > Psychology
Depositing User: Antonio Zuffiano
Date Deposited: 09 Jun 2017 08:17
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2017 08:18

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