"Kindness Counts: Prompting Prosocial Behavior in Preadolescents Boosts Peer Acceptance and Well-Being"
Mean girls and bullies may sit at the top of the classroom pecking order in Hollywood, but a new study suggests in real life, kindness is linked to popularity among 9- to 11-year-old students.
Researchers, led by Kristin Layous, of the University of California, Riverside, observed 415 students in that age group in 19 classrooms in Vancouver, British Columbia, over four weeks.
At the start, students reported on their own life satisfaction, happiness, and positivity, and then picked from a roster of names the classmates they would "like to be in school activities [i.e., spend time] with." For the next four weeks, students were asked to either visit three places of interest to them or to perform three acts of kindness each week for anyone they knew.
At the trial's end, the students who had performed kind acts garnered more new friends than those who had visited places about 1.6 new friends on average, compared with 0.7 for the other group.
Vol. 32, Issue 15, Page 5Published in Print: January 9, 2013, as Student Behavior