ERIC Number: ED188779
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-May
Reference Count: 0
The Effects of Age and Sex on Preschoolers' Helpfulness.
King, Laura M.; Barnett, Mark A.
This paper investigates the effects of age and sex on the spontaneous helping behavior of preschool children. Forty-six middle-class children, 22 boys and 24 girls, attending school in a small city in northeastern Kansas took part in the study. Children were divided by median split into younger and older groups. Taped interactions of children with a needy confederate were rated on four measures representing various components of the broad dimension of helpfulness: (1) latency (in seconds) to the child's first clearly helpful response, (2) extent of spontaneous sharing, (3) degree of verbal and physical involvement with the confederate, and (4) extent of overall helpfulness. The average of two trained independent judges' ratings was used as the measure for each child on each of the four dimensions. Results indicate that older female preschoolers responded more quickly to the needs of a distressed confederate and received higher ratings on sharing, involvement, and overall helpfulness scales than did males or younger females. These findings suggest a developmental progression from lesser to greater helpfulness for preschool girls, but not for preschool boys, in a situation where the needy other's affective cues are salient. (Author/RH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association (St. Louis, MO, May 1-3, 1980).