Impact of Political Conflict on Trajectories of Adolescent Prosocial Behavior: Implications for Civic Engagement

Laura K. Taylor, Christine E. Merrilees, Rachel Baird, Marcie C. Goeke-Morey, Pete Shirlow, E. Mark Cummings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)
441 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Counterbalancing the narrative of youth as either helpless victims or ruthless perpetrators, a new generation of research in conflict settings focuses on their peacebuilding potential, including constructs such as prosocial behaviors and civic engagement. This paper prospectively examines trajectories of adolescent prosocial behaviors (N= 999; Time 1: M=12.18, SD=1.82, overall range 10-20 years old) over six consecutive years in Belfast, Northern Ireland. A dual change model found an initial shallow decrease in prosocial behaviors that dropped more sharply in later adolescence. Exposure to sectarianism related to an accelerated decrease in prosocial behaviors. Trajectories of prosocial behaviors positively related to later social and political engagement. Intervention implications address how to promote youth prosocial behaviors and civic engagement amid protracted political conflict.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1785-1794
JournalDevelopmental Psychology
Volume54
Issue number9
Early online date30 Jul 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2018

Keywords

  • prosocial behavior
  • adolescence
  • political violence
  • Northern Ireland
  • intergroup conflict
  • youth civic engagement

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