Prosocial norms like reciprocity, social responsibility, altruism, and volunteerism are ethical standards and beliefs that youth development programs often want to promote. This chapter reviews evolutionary, social-cognitive, and developmental theories of prosocial development, and analyze how young people learn and adopt prosocial norms. The review showed that very few current theories explicitly address the issue of how prosocial norms, in form of feelings of moral obligations, may be challenged by a norm of self-interest and social circumstances, when prosocial acts are needed. It is necessary to develop theories which put prosocial norms as a central construct, and a new social cognitive theory of norm activation has the potential to help us understand how prosocial norms may be applied. This review also highlights how little we know about how young people perceive and receive prosocial norms, and how influential are school policies and peer influence on the prosocial development. Lastly, while training of interpersonal competence (e.g. empathy, moral reasoning, etc.) was commonly used in the youth development, their effectiveness was not systematically evaluated. It will also be interesting to examine how computer and information technology or video games may be used in e-learning of prosocial norms.
|Title of host publication||Positive Youth Development|
|Subtitle of host publication||Theory, Research and Application|
|Publisher||Nova Science Publishers, Inc.|
|Number of pages||11|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Dec 2012|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences(all)