Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version

September 1996


Published in Child Development, 67 (1996), pp. 974–992. Copyright © 1996 by the Society for Research in Child Development, Inc. Published by Blackwell Publishing, Inc. Used by permission.


The purpose of this study was to examine the relations of a measure of children’s dispositional prosocial behavior (i.e., peer nominations) to individual differences in children’s negative emotionality, regulation, and social functioning. Children with prosocial reputations tended to be high in constructive social skills (i.e., socially appropriate behavior and constructive coping) and attentional regulation, and low in negative emotionality. The relations of children’s negative emotionality to prosocial reputation were moderated by level of dispositional attentional regulation. In addition, the relations of prosocial reputation to constructive social skills and parent-reported negative emotionality (for girls) increased with age. Vagal tone, a marker of physiological regulation, was negatively related to girls’ prosocial reputation.