Elementary School Students’ Prosocial Experiences in South Korea: A Case Study

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Child Indicators Research

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This case study demonstrates how elementary school students’ selective prosocial responding towards their peers is associated with the targets’ different peer sociometric status in the classroom. Participants include 23 fourth graders and their teacher in a private elementary school in Seoul, South Korea. The findings of this study include: 1) Students were selectively prosocial toward their peers, based on the targets’ peer acceptance and popularity; 2) The group norms associated with the criteria of peer acceptance and popularity seemed to be related to liking of liked individuals; and 3) Being friendly and comforting was commonly enacted by the students in the classroom, even toward disliked individuals; however, giving and instrumental helping was more frequent with popular targets than with disliked ones. The findings of the study indicate that students’ prosocial experiences are shaped by their selective choice of behavior based on in-group-out-group distinctions.

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