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

  • Meredith McGinleyEmail author
  • Gustavo Carlo
Origina Paper


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.


Prosocial behaviors Sympathy Aggression Adolescence Methodology 



This research has been sponsored by grants from the Office of the Research Council, Institute for Ethnic Studies, and a Human Rights and Human Diversity Grant-In-Aid awarded to Gustavo Carlo and Marcela Raffaelli. The authors would like to thank Scott Roesch for his assistance in the data collection and Craig Enders for his input on the data analysis.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. graduate student in the Developmental Psychology program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her research interests include positive social and moral behaviors in children and adolescents and methodology. Department of PsychologyUniversity of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnUSA

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