What Does it Mean to be Prosocial? A Cross-Ethnic Study of Parental Beliefs

Maria Rosario T. de Guzman, Jill Brown, Gustavo Carlo, George P. Knight

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


This study explored parental beliefs surrounding prosocial behaviours and the parenting practices that promote them. A total of 47 mothers of young adolescents participated in one of the seven focus groups, three of which were conducted in Spanish with first-generation Mexican-American immigrants, two were conducted in English among second generation (US-born) Mexican Americans, and two were conducted with European Americans. Responses were coded using elements of the grounded theory approach, and results indicate patterns of shared and unique beliefs about prosocial behaviours in ways that reflect the sociocultural context and acculturative experiences of the respondents. Findings suggest that beliefs about prosocial behaviours and parenting are culturally-structured and dynamic-changing to reflect the experiences and developmental landscape of parents and children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-268
Number of pages30
JournalPsychology and Developing Societies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • acculturation
  • ethnotheories
  • parental beliefs
  • prosocial behaviours

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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