Psychology, Department of


Document Type


Date of this Version

January 2002


Published in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82:6 (2002), pp. 993–1006. Copyright © 2002 American Psychological Association. Used by permission. “This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.”


Consistency of measures of a prosocial personality and prosocial moral judgment over time, and the interrelations among them, were examined. Participants’ and friends’ reports of prosocial characteristics were obtained at ages 21– 22, 23–24, and 25–26 years. In addition, participants’ prosocial judgment was assessed with interviews and with an objective measure of prosocial moral reasoning at several ages. Reports of prosocial behavior and empathy-related responding in childhood and observations of prosocial behavior in preschool also were obtained. There was interindividual consistency in prosocial dispositions, and prosocial dispositions in adulthood related to empathy/sympathy and prosocial behavior at much younger ages. Interview and objective measures of moral reasoning were substantially interrelated in late adolescence/early adulthood and correlated with participants’ and friends’ reports of a prosocial disposition.