Tis the season for helping at a soup kitchen, caroling at a care facility or shoveling a neighbor’s driveway.
While those gifts of self surely help others, new research suggests that such selfless and serving behaviors have a specific benefit to teens.
BYU School of Family Life professor Laura Padilla-Walker, in a longitudinal study she coauthored with a former student (Xinyuan Fu, Central University of Finance and Economics, China) in the Journal of Adolescence, found that adolescents who exhibited prosocial behavior — such as helping, sharing and comforting — toward strangers had higher self-esteem a year later. The same was not true for those in the study who exhibited prosocial behavior solely to friends and family.
More at BYU