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January 2022

When children help children - An observational study of prosocial behavior

Author(s): Auhagen, A. E.

Journal/Book: Z Sozpsychol. 1996; 27: Langgass-Strasse 76, CH-3000 Bern 9, Switzerland. Verlag Hans Huber. 224-241.

Abstract: Helping behavior among children was investigated in a field study. Six independent investigators observed 63 children from the second, fourth, and sixth grades in two different settings: classroom instruction and recess. The extensive observations were analyzed in terms of different kinds of helping behavior. Independent coders used an original system for coding the protocols consisting of 19 categories of helping. The results are presented according to five main aspects: helping as phenomenon, helping as process, helping and social relationships, helping and development, and problems with helping. The results of the study are interesting in a variety of ways. It was found that the kind of social relationship between the child who helps and the child who is helped is decisive for how helping occurs. It also appears that problems with helping are more frequent in a competitive context than in a cooperative context.

Note: Article M Kauke, Humboldt Univ Berlin, Philosph Fak 4, Inst Schulpadag & Padag Psychol, Unter Linden 6, D-10099 Berlin, Germany

Keyword(s): prosocial behavior; helping behavior between children; observational study in a natural setting

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