, Volume 36, Issue 3, pp 337-349

Two Sides of the Same Coin? The Relations between Prosocial and Physically Aggressive Behaviors

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Abstract

The direct and indirect relations between six types of prosocial behavior and physical aggression were examined. Data were gathered from 252 college students (M age = 21.67 years; 184 women) who completed measures of sympathy, prosocial behavior, and physical aggression. Structural equation modeling revealed that sympathy fully mediated the relations between compliant prosocial behaviors and physical aggression, and partially mediated the relations between altruism and physical aggression and public prosocial behaviors and physical aggression. The findings suggest that the relations between prosocial behaviors and aggression are complex and that prosocial behavior should not be treated as a unitary construct.

is Professor of Developmental Psychology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Dr. Carlo's main interests include the individual, parenting, and cultural correlates of positive social and moral behaviors in children and adolescents.