Positive Youth Development: Parental Warmth, Values, and Prosocial Behavior in 11 Cultural Groups


  • Concetta Pastorelli Sapienza University of Rome https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2837-7312
  • Antonio Zuffianò Sapienza University of Rome
  • Jennifer E. Lansford Duke University
  • Eriona Thartori Sapienza University of Rome https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6576-0834
  • Marc H. Bornstein Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
  • Lei Chang University of Macau
  • Kirby Deater-Deckard University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • Laura Di Giunta Sapienza University of Rome
  • Kenneth A. Dodge Duke University
  • Sevtap Gurdal University West, Trollhättan
  • Qin Liu Chongqing Medical University
  • Qian Long Duke Kunshan University
  • Paul Oburu Maseno University
  • Ann T. Skinner Duke University
  • Emma Sorbring University West, Trollhättan
  • Laurence Steinberg Temple University and King Abdulaziz University
  • Sombat Tapanya Chiang Mai University
  • Liliana Maria Uribe Tirado Universidad de San Buenaventura, Medellin
  • Saengduean Yotanyamaneewong Chiang Mai University
  • Suha Al-Hassan Hashemite University, Jordan and Emirates College for Advanced Education, Abu Dhabi
  • Liane Peña Alampay Ateneo de Manila University
  • Dario Bacchini University of Naples “Federico II”




parental warmth, family values, prosocial behavior, cross-cultural, positive youth development, adolescence


The current cross-cultural study aimed to extend research on parenting and children’s prosocial behavior by examining relations among parental warmth, values related to family obligations (i.e., children’s support to and respect for their parents, siblings, and extended family), and prosocial behavior during the transition to adolescence (from ages 9 to 12). Mothers, fathers, and their children (N = 1107 families) from 8 countries including 11 cultural groups (Colombia; Rome and Naples, Italy; Jordan; Kenya; the Philippines; Sweden; Thailand; and African Americans, European Americans, and Latin Americans in the United States) provided data over 3 years in 3 waves (Mage of child in wave 1 = 9.34 years, SD = 0.75; 50.5% female). Overall, across all 11 cultural groups, multivariate change score analysis revealed positive associations among the change rates of parental warmth, values related to family obligations, and prosocial behavior during late childhood (from age 9 to 10) and early-adolescence (from age 10 to 12). In most cultural groups, more parental warmth at ages 9 and 10 predicted steeper mean-level increases in prosocial behavior in subsequent years. The findings highlight the prominent role of positive family context, characterized by warm relationships and shared prosocial values, in fostering children’s positive development in the transition to adolescence. The practical implications of these findings are discussed.


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