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DPSY 6217/8228: Social and Emotional Development | Week 7

Week 7: Prosocial and Antisocial Behaviors in Social and Emotional Development

Laureate Education (Producer). (2017g). Prosocial and antisocial behavior [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Note:  The approximate length of this media piece is 2 minutes.

Dr. Megan Baril introduces Week 7 of the course.

Learning Objectives

Students will:
  • Assess forgiveness within social and emotional development
  • Evaluate the role peer influence plays in the development of behavior in adolescence and emerging adulthood
  • Evaluate the role peer influence plays in 
Required Readings


Damon, W. (2004). What is positive youth development? Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 591, 13–24.
Note: You will access this article from the Walden Library databases.

Eisenberg, N., Spinrad, T. L., & Knafo-Noam, A. (2015). Prosocial development. In M. E. Lamb (Vol. Ed.) & R. M. Lerner (Series Ed.), Handbook of child psychology and developmental science: Vol. 3. Socioemotional processes (7th ed., pp. 610–656). New York, NY: Wiley.

Noorden, T. H. van, Haselager, G. J., Cillessen, A. H., & Bukowski, W. M. (2015). Empathy and involvement in bullying in children and adolescents: A systematic review. Journal of Youth & Adolescence, 44(3), 637–657. doi: 10.1007/s10964-014-0135-6
Note: You will access this article from the Walden Library databases.


Fagan, A. A., & Benedini, K. M. (2016). How do family-focused prevention programs work? A review of mediating mechanisms associated with reductions in youth antisocial behaviors. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 19(4), 285–309. doi: 10.1007/s10567-016-0207-0
Note: You will access this article from the Walden Library databases.

Kidwell, S. L., Young, M. E., Hinkle, L. D., Ratliff, A. D., Marcum, M. E., & Martin, C. N. (2010). Emotional competence and behavior problems: Differences across Preschool Assessment of Attachment classifications. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 15, 391–406. doi: 10.1177/1359104510367589
Note: You will access this article from the Walden Library databases.

Discussion Spark: Forgiveness

One type of prosocial behavior that is of special interest has to do with one’s capacity to extend forgiveness to others. Not surprisingly, those who forgive tend to be more prosocial than those who do not forgive others (Karremans, Van Lange, & Holland, 2005). In the Spark question this week, you are going to explore your thoughts on this concept of forgiveness. What exactly is forgiveness, and what do you think predicts why some people are more forgiving than others?

By Day 2

Post a response to the following:

How would you define forgiveness in your own words? Why do you think some people are more forgiving than others? Does our capacity for forgiveness vary according to our stage of development? If so, how?

Note: Discussion Sparks are intended to generate ideas and spark thoughts before you review the week’s Learning Resources or begin your Assignments. Therefore, no APA citations of Learning Resources are required for your Spark posts. For this reason, your responses may be briefer than a regular Discussion post and are due on Day 2 (unlike regular Discussion posts, which are due on Day 4). A response post is not required, although you are welcome to respond to your classmates.

Submission and Grading Information
Post by Day 2

To participate in this Discussion:
Week 7 Discussion

Discussion: Peer Pressure

A very common term discussed by youth, parents, and teachers alike is peer pressure. What is meant by this term, and what has research found? Is peer pressure the monolithic force that people think it is? Peer pressure is defined as the process in which “people of the same age group encourage particular behavior, dress, and attitude. This is usually considered negative, when peers encourage behavior that is contrary to norms or morals, but it can also be positive” (Berger, 2016, p. 360). Research has found that some individuals are more susceptible to the influence of peers than others based on their genetic makeup and early experiences (Prinstein, Brechwald, & Cohen, 2011). Further, research has found that early adolescents (ages 11–13) are more susceptible to influence than late adolescents (ages 17–19).

How exactly do researchers study peer pressure? This is an interesting question, as adolescents may not be willing or even aware enough of their own motivations and behavior to describe their actions in this area. A group of researchers led by Jensen and Bursztyn (2015) devised a very interesting approach to understanding the impact of peer pressure in adolescence. They performed an experiment on 11th graders in several public schools in Los Angeles, in which they offered a free online SAT prep course for which students could sign up. They described the course on a flier, but for one group of students, the flier stated, “Your decision to sign up for the course will be kept completely private from everyone, except the other students in the room.” The other flier had the same description of the SAT prep program, but it stated, “Your decision to sign up for the course will be kept completely private from everyone, including the other students in the room.”

What did they find? These researchers found that for the group of students who thought their classmates would know about their participation in the program, honors students were more likely to sign up, and non-honors students were lesslikely to sign up if they thought their peers would know. This study demonstrates perfectly the positive and negative effect that peer pressure can have on adolescents. You explore these interconnections in greater detail in this Discussion.

To Prepare:

  • As you review this week’s Learning Resources, consider the following questions: When you think of peer pressure, is it primarily a force encouraging negative and antisocial behaviors? Alternatively, can peer pressure lead adolescents to positive/prosocial behaviors?
  • Consider ways that gender, age, and cultural background may impact the nature of peer pressure.
By Day 4

Post your argument explaining the positive and negative nature of peer pressure. Please support your arguments with scholarly sources that point to both types of influence (positive and negative) that peers can have on adolescents and emerging adults. Be sure to address how gender, age, and cultural may impact the nature of peer pressure.

Read your colleagues’ postings.

By Day 6

Respond to at least two colleagues by rebutting or adding to their arguments and supporting your position with references to the literature.

Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources. Use proper APA format and citations.

Return to this Discussion in a few days to read the responses to your initial posting. Note what you have learned and/or any insights that you have gained as a result of your colleagues’ comments.

Submission and Grading Information
Grading Criteria

To access your rubric:
Week 7 Discussion Rubric

Post by Day 4 and Respond by Day 6

To participate in this Discussion:
Week 7 Discussion

Assignment: Factors that Impact Understanding Prosocial and Antisocial Behaviors in Emerging Adulthood

Understanding research on social and emotional development broadly, and prosocial and antisocial behavior specifically, is one of the course goals this week. However, the next logical and important step for students is to be able to logically apply the information in a practical, everyday professional setting. This Assignment is designed to do just that.

For this Assignment, envision that you are a developmental psychologist who has been tasked with teaching a group of college students about prosocial and antisocial influences on their development. Your goal is to make these emerging adults aware of the roots of these types of behaviors as well as their impact on different aspects of development. Present some of the research in this area in a real and tangible way, keeping in mind the basic tenets of social and emotional development in adolescence. How would you try to make emerging adults aware of the facts as they relate to their own development?

To Prepare:

  • Choose two prosocial behaviors (e.g., altruism, empathy, social understanding, forgiveness).
  • Choose two antisocial behaviors (e.g., domestic violence, risky driving, drug use, hostility, low self-esteem).
  • Consider potential causes of each of the behaviors you selected and their impact on social and emotional development.

The Assignment:

  • Create a PowerPoint of 8–10 slides (using the notes section to elaborate on the points in your slides) of your presentation to these emerging adults. If you do not have access to PowerPoint, you may use Word for your presentation instead.
  • Explain how these behaviors develop and what their implications are. Explain how these factors are grounded in social and emotional development up to this point in the lifespan.

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