Prosocial competencies among adolescent siblings of the physically disabled
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Submission date: 2015-06-11
Final revision date: 2015-08-22
Acceptance date: 2015-08-22
Online publication date: 2015-09-09
Publication date: 2015-12-01
Current Issues in Personality Psychology 2015;3(4):195-202
The current study examined possible prosocial benefits of having a disabled sibling. Until now research has mainly focused on the negative effects of having a sibling with a disability. We hypothesized that regular and frequent interactions with a disabled person should result in an increase of positive attitude and empathy toward other people who are in a disadvantageous situation.

Participants and procedure
A sample of 208 students from public secondary schools (middle and high schools) completed the Polish version of the Prosocial Tendencies Measure (PTM) in order to assess the tendencies to prosocial behaviors in different conditions. Participants were between 13 and 18 years old. Ninety-six adolescents had a disabled sibling (group T) and 112 constituted the control group (group C).

Results showed that group T generally scored higher than group C in the number of helping behaviors. Furthermore, girls scored higher than boys in anonymous prosocial behaviors. The older adolescents are more inclined to use helping behaviors both in anonymous and compliant situations than their younger colleagues.

Presence of disabled children in a family context may facilitate prosocial behavior in their non-disabled siblings. Older participants less frequently described themselves as prosocial in public situations. In contrast, younger adolescents reported weaker prosocial tendencies in anonymous and compliant situations. The effect of gender on prosocial tendencies was significant for public prosocial behavior, with a higher level achieved by males in this domain. Data analysis also showed significantly greater emotional and altruistic tendencies in females than in males.
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