Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Early Adolescence, Vol. 19 No. 2, May 1999 133-147 Copyright © 1999 Sage Publications, Inc. Used by permission.


This is the second installment of the special issue on prosocial and moral development in early adolescence. This issue focuses on social and contextual processes in young adolescents’ prosocial and moral behaviors. In this introductory article, a brief review of the research on parents or family, peers, school environment, culture, and nationality as correlates of prosocial and moral development was presented. The research indicates that the social context plays an important role in prosocial and moral development. However, research on the social and contextual correlates of prosocial and moral development in early adolescence is at an embryonic stage. Research is needed that integrates analyses of individual and social contextual processes to fully understand prosocial and moral development. Moreover, more sophisticated design and assessment procedures and research with racially or ethnically diverse samples are needed. It is hoped that researchers focus more attention on the positive processes and behaviors associated with the various social contextual transitions in early adolescence.