A Latent Growth Curve Analysis of Neighbourhood and Family Influences on Canadian Children's Prosocial Behaviour Developmental Trajectories
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Prosocial behaviour is an important building block of children's future social relationships and overall life achievement. The purpose of this study is to increase our knowledge of how various social pathways influence the developmental trajectories of prosocial behaviour in children between the age of 4 and 11. Conceptually, this study rests on the family stress model and its mediating effects, augmented by parental perceptions of neighbourhood social relationships moderating those family pathways. Research is conducted using data from Statistics Canada's National Longitudinal Survey on Children and Youth (NLSCY), and latent growth models (LGM) in four parenting domains: positive interaction, effectiveness, consistency, and rationality. The study supports the hypothesis that family pathways, such as parental depression, family dysfunction, and parenting practices, mediate the relationship between family SES and children's prosocial development. Study findings also demonstrate the important direct effect sizes of all parenting practices on children's prosocial growth. Results suggest that the magnitude of the direct effects of parenting practices on prosocial behaviour, which are non-negligible and positive, are to a great extent negatively affected by the variables defined in the family stress model. Moreover, this research provides new insights about the types of moderation, and the focus of these moderating effects on the family stress model. Thus, findings support the hypothesis that parents' perceptions of neighbourhood cohesion and social support mitigate one or more family pathways more proximal to the child. Overall, this research study contributes in a distinctive manner to the current literature on children's prosocial behaviour development.