ERIC Number: ED174345
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Peers, Pathology, and Helping: Some Kids Are More Helpful Than Others.
Hampson, Robert B.
Research suggests that a relatively stable, through small, percentage of children may be consistently conscientious helpers. What differentiates these children from others must become the focus of research in children's helping behavior. The available research on characteristics of helping children is relatively scarce. The purpose of this study of helping children was to examine individual characteristics, baseline rates of helping, and the interface of popularity and helping behavior for a sample of young adolescents. Subjects were 90 Caucasian eighth graders at a public middle school in central Virginia who were average or above-average achievers. Students completed sociometric rankings in which they rated each other as "most helpful,""least helpful,""most popular," and"least popular." In individual assessment, each subject was interviewed briefly about family composition, took several self-report personality measures, and was observed on six behavioral tasks. Among the findings, the most helpful children consistently demonstrated quantitatively more appropriate scorings on self-report inventories: higher self-concept, higher extroversion, lower neuroticism, and greater affiliative tendency. The helpers rated more popular were significantly more helpful in direct peer-related tasks. The helpers rated less popular were more cooperative, though unrecognized, behind the scenes. In future research, sensitivity to the type of helping situation and the interaction of helping situation and individual helper characteristics is advised. (Author/RH)
Descriptors: Acculturation, Adolescents, Altruism, Empathy, Environmental Influences, Family Characteristics, Family (Sociological Unit), Handicapped Children, Helping Relationship, Individual Characteristics, Junior High Schools, Life Style, Middle Schools, Neurosis, Peer Acceptance, Peer Influence, Prosocial Behavior, Research, Self Esteem, Social Influences, Socialization
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Extraversion Introversion; Situational Demand Characteristics
Note: Portions of this paper were presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (San Francisco, California, March 15-18, 1979)