Prosocial behaviour in adolescents : classroom and sport specific environments : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Psychology at Massey University, Albany, New Zealand
Research has found that participation in sports is positively associated with physical health,
academic achievement, and social wellbeing. New Zealand lacks studies in this area,
particularly in an intermediate school-aged population. For this reason, the purpose of the
current study was to examine prosocial behaviour between two major educational contexts to
determine if the change in environment had an effect on the self-reported social behaviour
perceived of students.
A group of 175 males and females aged 10 -12 years participated in the research. The sample
attended a public intermediate school on Auckland’s North Shore. Data collection was
undertaken on the school premises, through administration of anonymous self-report
questionnaires engaging perceived social behaviours including self-efficacy, altruism,
empathy, aggression, and prosocial behaviour. The results were interpreted in the context of
Bandura’s (1991a) social cognitive theory of moral behaviour.
Confirmatory factor analysis was employed to initially assess the fit of the data. Psychometric
evaluations found that measures exhibited adequate internal consistency, and adequate fit of
the data to the models. Following preliminary analyses, the two contexts in which prosocial
behaviour was measured were retained as the focus in multiple regression analyses, utilising
given predictor variables. Regression analysis tested found Altruism and Social-Efficacy to be
important predictors of prosocial behaviour, whereas Cooperation, Social-Efficacy, and
Helping found to contribute to aggression.
Hypothesis testing suggested that physical context did not account for significant differences
in prosocial behaviour. However, aggression was affected by a change in physical context.
Gender was seen to produce effects, with significant differences noted between the classroom
and physical education settings when comparing male, though no differences were found
when comparing females between contexts. Limitations and implications for future research