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March 8, 2010

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The social information-processing (SIP) model has generated significant knowledge concerning the social cognitions of rejected and aggressive children. However, the model rarely has been applied to the cognitions and behavior of prosocial children or adolescents. This study examined SIP patterns of prosocial young adolescents (10 through 12 years of age). Hypothetical situation instruments were used to assess the intent attributions, feelings of distress, and response-ecision processes (for relational and instrumental provocation situations) of fourth- through sixth-grade young adoles-cents (N = 675). Results revealed that, in contrast to their comparison group peers, pro-social young adolescents (a) were less likely to attribute hostile intent or feel distressed in provocation situations (i.e., a benign attributional bias), (b) gave relatively more negative evaluations of aggressive responses and relatively more positive evaluations of prosocial responses to provocation, and (c) were more likely to endorse relational rather than instrumental goals in dealing with provocation. Implications for prosocial development and intervention are discussed.

David A. Nelson
University of Minnesota

Nicki R. Crick

University of Minnesota

The Journal of Early Adolescence, Vol. 19, No. 1, 17-38 (1999)
DOI: 10.1177/0272431699019001002

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