A recent study by Kimberly Schonert-Reichl and Kristin Layous from the University of British Columbia and the University of California, Riverside, entitled, “Kindness Counts: Prompting Prosocial Behavior in Preadolescence Boosts Peer Acceptance and Well-Being”, surveyed 400 Vancouver students between the ages of 9 and 11 years old. The students were asked to report on their happiness and identify which of their classmates they would like to work on activities with.
Following the initial survey, the students were divided into two groups and had four weeks in which they were randomly assigned to another task by the researchers. The results indicated that although both groups felt that they were happier overall, the children who were asked to perform acts of kindness chose higher numbers of classmates to work on activities with, than the group that was asked to make note of pleasant places they visited during this time.
The researchers emphasize that these findings are important because increased acceptance among peers is a critical goal in that it might result in a decreased likelihood of bullying. According to the study, bullying tends to increase around grades 4 and 5, so implementing pro-social attitudes well before this time in children’s lives may be the most beneficial in terms of bullying prevention
Read the full study here.
With thanks to Cara Hykawy at BC Council for Families