Gustavo Carlo, Millsap Professor of Diversity in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, examined data from surveys given to a group of rural youths from junior high school to young adulthood. Carlo found that prosocial behaviors serve as protective factors against adolescents engaging in risky behaviors. Thus, teens who engage in more prosocial behaviors are less likely to get drunk or use marijuana as young adults.
“Prosocial behaviors are good for society and communities, but also they are a marker of moral development,” Carlo said. “Parents want their kids to be kind, selfless, considerate and respectful. We now have evidence that these prosocial behaviors make adolescents less likely to break moral codes and engage in illegal activities like getting drink and smoking marijuana.”
The study focused on rural youths because previous research indicates they may be more apt to use illicit substances earlier, putting them at risk for developing addiction problems as adults. Rural communities tend to be more spread out, making it difficult for adolescents to get transportation to events and activities. In addition, rural communities often have less access to recreation centers, spaces for meetings, volunteers to run programs and funding for organized activities.
“There is a tendency for youths to take part in risky behaviors if they are not engaged in positive, structured activities,” Carlo said. “Many rural communities have suffered from the economic downturn and are unable to offer opportunities for youth activities. Financial stress can also affect the psychological health of parents making them less cognizant of how children spend their time.”
Carlo says the research has important implications for substance use prevention and intervention programs aimed at teens.
“Research shows that prevention programs are more effective and economical,” Carlo said. “If we can develop programs that foster prosocial behaviors, we know the programs will decrease the likelihood that adolescents will use substances in adulthood.
The study, “The Longitudinal Relationships Between Rural Adolescents’ Prosocial Behaviors and Young Adult Substance Use,” was published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence. The Department of Human Development and Family Studies is part of the College of Human Environmental Sciences.
Samantha Craven | EurekAlert!
Researchers simplify tiny structures' construction drip by drip
12.11.2018 | Princeton University, Engineering School
Mandibular movement monitoring may help improve oral sleep apnea devices
06.11.2018 | Elsevier
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.
Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure
Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...
19.11.2018 | Event News
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
19.11.2018 | Materials Sciences
19.11.2018 | Information Technology
19.11.2018 | Life Sciences