Sportopedia Glossary

Prosocial Behavior

Prosocial Behavior

Prosocial behavior means doing things voluntarily to help or benefit other people or a group (Eisenberg & Fabes, 1998). Prosocial behavior is thought of in two ways (Kavussanu, 2008). One idea about being prosocial is that it is moral behavior. The other is that it is the opposite of being antisocial. In sports, examples of prosocial behavior can be helping an injured player, assisting coaches and teammates, or congratulating and supporting a teammate. Studies have explored that the reasons people partake in prosocial behavior. These studies have found that when people feel good about themselves (Hodge & Gucciardi, 2015), have good relationships with coaches and teammates (Rutten, Stams, Biesta, Schuengel, Dirks, & Hoeksma, 2007) or when the task they are engaging in fits with their wants and needs (Graupensperger, 2016), they are more likely to show prosocial behavior. Researchers have also created a tool called the Prosocial and Antisocial Behaviour in Sport Scale (PABSS) (Kavussanu et al., 2013) to measure prosocial and antisocial behavior in sports. This tool has been used in different English-speaking countries to study both male and female athletes in various team sports.

Eisenberg, N., & Fabes, R. (1998). Prosocial development. In N. Eisenberg (Ed.), Handbook of child psychology, Vol 3: Social, emotional, and personality development (pp. 701 778). New York: John Wiley.

Graupensperger, S. (2016). The locker room as a developmen- tal context: Predicting perceptions of prosocial and antiso- cial behavior in youth hockey players (Unpublished Master’s thesis). Bowling Green, OH: Bowling Green State University.

Hodge, K., & Gucciardi, D. (2015). Antisocial and prosocial behavior in sport: The role of motivational climate, basic psychological needs, and moral disengagement. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 37, 257 273.

Kavussanu, M. (2008). Moral behaviour in sport: A critical review of the literature. International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 1, 124 138.

Kavussanu, M., Stanger, N., & Boardley, I. D. (2013). The Prosocial and Antisocial Behaviour in Sport Scale: Further evidence for construct validity and reliability. Journal of Sports Sciences, 31, 1208 1221.

Rutten, E., Stams, G., Biesta, G., Schuengel, G., Dirks, E., & Hoeksma, J. (2007). The contribution of organized youth sport to antisocial and prosocial behavior in adolescent ath- letes. Journal of Youth Adolescence, 36, 255 264.