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Examining the impact of child characteristics and microsystem variables on the prosocial behaviour trajectories of Canadian children : a longitudinal study using the NLSCY Moraes, Sabrina C

Abstract

In this study the impact of child characteristics and microsystem variables on developmental trajectories of prosocial behaviour in Canadian children between the ages of 4 and 11 years was examined. In addition, whether the relationship between parenting practices and prosocial behaviour trajectories is moderated by gender, temperament, family SES or use on non-parental care and whether the relationship between non-parental child care and prosocial behaviour trajectories is moderated family SES was also examined. Using data obtained from six cycles of the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (NLSCY), growth curve analyses were conducted using Hierarchical Linear Modelling (HLM) software. It was found that children’s initial levels of prosocial behaviour at the age of 4 years were significantly impacted by their gender, temperament, presence of siblings, and family SES. Females, children with ‘easy’ temperaments, children without siblings, and children of higher SES were found to display higher initial levels of prosocial behaviours at four years of age. However, the rate at which prosocial behaviour changes between the ages of 4 and 11 years was not influenced by any of the predictor variables included in the study. Positive parenting practices were associated with higher levels of prosocial behaviour and hostile/ineffective parenting practices were associated with lower levels of prosocial behaviour. The study also revealed two important interactive effects. The beneficial effect of positive parenting on prosocial behaviour was found to be stronger for children rated as having ‘easy’ temperaments compared with the effect for children with ‘difficult’ temperaments and the impact of non-parental care on prosocial behaviour trajectories was moderated by family SES. Low SES children who received non-parental care at 2 to 3 years of age displayed higher levels of prosocial behaviour than those of low SES who did not experience non-parental care. Of those children who experienced non-parental care at 2 to 3 years of age, hours in non-parental care or whether the care was licensed or not did not significantly impact prosocial behaviour trajectories.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

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