The following is excerpted from an online article posted by Psypost.
In a recent study involving Swiss adolescents, researchers discovered that parental involvement significantly increases prosocial behavior in teens but does not necessarily decrease internalizing problems. The study, published in the Journal of Early Adolescence, also found an unexpected two-way relationship between prosocial behavior and internalizing problems, challenging previous assumptions about adolescent development.
The study drew upon data from the “Zurich Project on the Social Development of Children and Youths,” an ongoing multi-rater longitudinal study that began in 2004. The researchers focused on data collected during four waves when the participants were approximately 11, 13, 15, and 17 years old. A substantial number of adolescents, totaling 1,523, were part of this detailed analysis.
One of the most significant revelations was the role of parental involvement. The researchers found that when parents were more involved in their adolescents’ lives – through activities like open communication, support, and showing interest in their children’s activities – the youths tended to exhibit more prosocial behavior as they grew older. This positive influence of parental involvement was consistent from early to mid-to-late adolescence.
The data showed that higher levels of parental involvement at ages 11, 13, and 15 predicted an increase in prosocial behavior two years later. This finding underscores the importance of parents staying actively engaged in their children’s lives throughout adolescence, not just during early childhood.
Another interesting outcome was the connection between parental involvement and self-control. The study found that greater parental involvement predicted improvements in self-control over time, indicating that parents play a crucial role in helping their children develop self-regulation skills.
“The findings of this study emphasize the relevance of parental involvement as a resource that may promote prosociality and self-control during adolescence,” said study author Fabiola Silletti, a Ph.D.candidate at the University of Bari Aldo Moro who also currently serves as a research scholar at the Resilience and Health Laboratory and the Developmental Risk and Cultural Resilience Laboratory.