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J Pers Soc Psychol. 1997 Oct;73(4):733-46.

Development of prosocial, individualistic, and competitive orientations: theory and preliminary evidence.

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Department of Social Psychology, Free University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


The authors adopt an interdependence analysis of social value orientation, proposing that prosocial, individualistic, and competitive orientations are (a) partially rooted in different patterns of social interaction as experienced during the periods spanning early childhood to young adulthood and (b) further shaped by different patterns of social interaction as experienced during early adulthood, middle adulthood, and old age. Congruent with this analysis, results revealed that relative to individualists and competitors, prosocial individuals exhibited greater levels of secure attachment (Studies 1 and 2) and reported having more siblings, especially sisters (Study 3). Finally, the prevalence of prosocials increased--and the prevalence of individualists and competitors decreased--from early adulthood to middle adulthood and old age (Study 4).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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