Prosocial behavior is influenced by the family strength. Based on Bronfenbrenner’s (1992) Ecological System Theory, prosocial is divide into two major factors that is contextual (family and friends) and personal (personal characteristic and sex). Therefore, personal and family characteristic will contribute to family strength and adolescences’ prosocial behavior. Family process which includes of family caring and connectedness is correlated with prosocial behavior involvement of adolescence (Resnick, Harris, & Blum, 1993). In addition, the quality of parental attachment within child will contribute to the type and frequency of adolescents’ prosocial behavior (Eberly & Montemayor, 1999). In fact, prosocial behavior is one of the actions that made with the intention of benefiting others (Eisenberg & Fabes, 1998). The issues of prosocial behavior becomes more frequently as the growing population increases. In Malaysia, the population of our nation is increasing over year. Since there is increasingly of the population, the quality of prosocial behavior has to give priority in discussing. The prosociality in an individual is very importance during the development stage. This is because prosocial behavior is the foundation in social interaction with family, peers, and friends. It also encourages the helping behavior to be nurtured in between human. Therefore, social behavior of adolescence is so significant and should be discussed in the study and in future research.
Family strength increasingly important in determine the prosocial behavior of adolescents. Family strength can be defined as a physical bond among the family members. The interaction that conducts from family members will give significant influence on adolescence current or future prosocial behavior. This is because an individual’s behavior will change as the changes in their surroundings. Hence, family strength is very importance in determining the prosocial behavior conducted by the adolescents. In general, family strength is the quality of relationship and bond among the family members which allow promoting well-being of family (Moore, Whitney, & Kinukawa, 2009). There are six types of family strength, caring and appreciation, commitment, communication, communities and family ties, working together, and flexibility and openness to change (Goddard, 1999). When one of the family members is facing problems or challenges outside, the other family member will give full support, love, caring, and concern to him or her. There is nothing in the world could make human life happier than to greatly increase the number of strong families (Mace, 1985).
In addition, adolescence are chosen to undergo this research is because of they are the second largest population group in Malaysia. Adolescence can be defined as the transitional stage of development which is between childhood and full adulthood. Adolescence is the last stage before becoming adult. Normally, individual in this period of time are biologically adult but it is not full maturity in emotionally. The age for adolescent is varied in culture. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), adolescents’ age is fall in between 10 and 20 years old. In Malaysia, the Ministry of Health defines adolescence as those who aged fall on the range 10 to 19 years old. The early adolescence is between 10 to 14 years old and late adolescence is between 15 to 19 years old. In this transition period, the mentally immature adolescents are very easy to be influenced by their closet environment such as their family (Bronfenbrenner, 1979). Peers, families, and communities become the strongest influences on their lives. Although, there are many study has been carry out before. But adolescence still recognize as the most important group for studied. It may due to adolescences are expected to be a period of growth for prosocial behavior tendencies in future (Eisenberg & Fabes, 1990). Adolescences are categorized as the most valuable asset of Malaysia. No matter what they will become in the future, a minister, an entrepreneur or even a labor, they have their own contribution to their nation because adolescent is the future of every country. Therefore, it is very important to discuss the prosocial behavior among adolescences to avoid less prosocial behavior which are able to raise risky behavior among them. As shown in Figure 1.1, parental monitoring will brings adolescences towards the risky behavior in the social context. From statistic as shown in Figure 1.1, no risky behavior participants are normally tends to proscocial behavior. In addition, high parent monitoring will contribute to no risky behavior and also prosocial behavior. Family plays an important role in construct adolescent prosocial behavior. In fact, parental assessments show significantly higher scores in adolescence’s prosocial behaviour. The stronger the family strength will produce prosocial bahavior or better comunication skills (Scourfield, John, Martin, & McGuffin, 2004).
Figure 1.1: Relationship between amount of parental monitoring of adolescent and percentage participating in no risky behaviors
Source from: Child Trends, 2009
Finally, the effectiveness of family strength contributes to the prosocial behavior problems. The higher level of family strength between family members will contribute to active prosocial behavior among adolescences. In contrasts, the weakness the family strength among family members will contribute to inactive prosocial behavior among adolescences. The quality of family strength will directly influences on the prosocial behavior of adolescences. Therefore, there is more likely to develop strong family strength to enhance the prosocial behavior problem among adolescences.
Basically, the purpose of this study is to describe the relationship between family strength and adolescents’ prosocial behavior specifically in Serdang, Malaysia. This study is aim to determine the significant of family strength in the transitional stage of development of adolescence.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
This study aims to determine the relationship between family strength and adolescents’ prosocial behavior in Serdang. Specifically, this study will identify adolescent’s characteristic (age, gender, self-esteem) and family characteristics (parental education, number of siblings, total family monthly income, parental marital status) that are related to family strength and prosocial behavior. In addition, the relationships between family characteristics with family strength and adolescents’ prosocial behavior will be determined. In summary, there are five research questions to be addressed in this present study:
What is the level of family strength as perceived by adolescents?
What is the level of adolescents’ prosocial behavior?
What adolescents’ family characteristics are significantly related to family strength and adolescents’ prosocial behavior?
Is family strength significantly related to adolescents’ prosocial behavior?
What factors are predictive of family strength and adolescents’ prosocial behavior?
Number of siblings
Total family monthly income
Parental marital status
Note: gender 0, 1
Figure 1.2: The conceptual framework of the relationship between family strength and adolescents’ prosocial behavior in Serdang
1.3 Significance of Study
The study of family strength and adolescents’ prosocial behaviour can be a learning paradigm to search for the relationship between both the variable. The findings may be contributed to various levels as in individual, society and national level.
At individual level, the finding of the study may benefits the parents as they can study what is the important factor that affects family strength and thus have effects on their adolescents’ prosocial behaviour. Parents will understand that how family strength have effects on adolescents’ prosocial behaviour.
At society level, this study provides a better understanding on how the family strength will affect the adolescents’ prosocial behaviour. The society gain knowledge on the finding and thus could advice or helps the parents who do not have a strong family strength or family with dire prosocial behaviour’s adolescent.
As for the national level, the finding of this study could provide a better insight on how family strength can have effects on adolescents’ prosocial behaviour. The finding of the study can be applicable by the authority and NGOs to provide a proper education and knowledge to families so that the bond between the family members can be stronger and how it can affect adolescents’ prosocial behaviour. The greater the number of family with greater strength will have children with better prosocial behaviour. Thus, this will lead the society, in fact country to a higher level of living standard.
1.4 Research Objective
This study aims to determine the relationship between family strength and adolescents’ prosocial behavior in Serdang.
To describe personal characteristics (age, gender, self-esteem) of the adolescents.
To describe parents characteristics (parental education, number of siblings, total family monthly income, marital status) of the adolescents.
To describe the adolescents’ perceived family strength.
To describe the adolescents’ prosocial behavior.
To determine the relationship between adolescents’ age and family strength.
To determine the relationship between adolescents’ gender and family strength.
To determine the relationship between adolescents’ self-esteem and family strength.
To determine the relationship between parental (father, mother) education and family strength.
To determine the relationship between number of siblings and family strength.
To determine the relationship between total family monthly income and family strength.
To compare differences of family strength across parental marital status.
To determine the relationship between adolescents’ age and adolescents’ prosocial behavior.
To determine the relationship between adolescents’ gender and adolescents’ prosocial behavior.
To determine the relationship between adolescents’ self-esteem and adolescents’ prosocial behavior.
To determine the relationship between parental (father, mother) education and adolescents’ prosocial behavior.
To determine the relationship between number of siblings and adolescents’ prosocial behavior.
To determine the relationship between total family monthly income and adolescents’ prosocial behavior.
To compare differences of adolescents’ prosocial behavior across parental marital status.
To determine the relationship between family strength and prosocial behaviour.
To determine what factors uniquely predict family strength.
To determine what factors uniquely predict adolescents’ prosocial behavior.
How family strength influences on prosocial behavior among adolescents is remained to questions. Besides, does the family strength help in moderating adolescents’ prosocial behavior? The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between family strength and adolescents’ prosocial behavior in Serdang. This study tests 17 null hypotheses.
H??1 : There is no significant relationship between adolescents’ age and family strength.
H?? 2 : There is no significant relationship between adolescents’ gender and family strength.
H?? 3 : There is no significant relationship between adolescents’ self-esteem and family strength.
H?? 4 : There is no significant relationship between father’s education and family strength.
H?? 5 : There is no significant relationship between mother’s education and family strength.
H?? 6 : There is no significant relationship between number of siblings and family strength.
H?? 7 : There is no significant relationship between total family monthly income and family strength.
H?? 8 : There is no significant difference of family strength across parental marital status.
H?? 9 : There is no significant relationship between adolescents’ age and adolescents’ prosocial behavior.
H?? 10 : There is no significant relationship between adolescents’ gender and adolescents’ prosocial behavior.
H?? 11 : There is no significant relationship between adolescents’ self-esteem and adolescents’ prosocial behavior.
H?? 12 : There is no significant relationship between father’s education and adolescents’ prosocial behavior.
H?? 13 : There is no significant relationship between mother’s education and adolescents’ prosocial behavior.
H?? 14 : There is no significant relationship between number of siblings and adolescents’ prosocial behavior.
H?? 15 : There is no significant relationship between total family monthly income and adolescents’ prosocial behavior.
H?? 16 : There is no significant difference of adolescents’ prosocial behavior across parents’ marital status.
H?? 17 : There is no significant relationship between family strength and adolescents’ prosocial behavior.
1.6 Terminology Definition
Terminology is defined a word in conceptually and operationally. Below are the terms of this study.
Conceptual: The combination of qualities, features or attributes that distinguishes one person from another
Operational: Adolescent’s report on the age, gender, and self-esteem of the respondent. Age refers to the period of time of history during which respondent lives from birth till current period. Gender is being classified into women and men category for the research respondent. Self-esteem will be measured by the Respondent’s score on the Rosenberg’s (1979) self-esteem scale (will be explain later).
Conceptual: The combination of qualities, features or attributes that distinguishes one family from another family.
Operational: Report on the, parental education, number of siblings, total family monthly income, and marital status of the respondent’s family. Parent education level will be categorized into level of UPSR, SPM, STPM, Diploma and Degree. Number of siblings is the total number of respondent’s brother and sister. Total family monthly income is the combination of income in Ringgit Malaysia from respondent’s family. Marital refers to the category of married, single parent, remarriage, and others.
Conceptual: Relationship qualities that contribute to the emotional health and well-being of the family. It is a set of relationship and processes that satisfy support and protect to family members (Moore, Whitney, & Kinukawa, 2009).
Operational: Respondent’s score on Family Functioning Style Scale (FFSS). This scale is developed by Trivette, Dunst, Deal, Hamby, & Sexton (1994). The scale consist five domains which is interactional patterns, family values, coping strategies, family commitment and resource mobilization. The higher score the respondent reach, the more strong of respondent’s family strength.
Conceptual: A type of behavior that tends to more helping, empathy, feeling concern and caring among each other.
Operational: Respondent’s score on Prosocial Tendencies Measure (PTM), which is developed by Johnson et al., 1989 and Rushton et al., 1981. This scale is aim to assess a person prosocial behavior. It’s consists of six categories, which is, public, anonymous, dire, emotional, compliant, and altruism. The higher the score of respondent, the more of his or her tends to be prosocial behavior.
Conceptual: A person who are between the beginning of puberty and adulthood stage.
Operational: Respondent who being of the age of 10 years to 19 years.
Conceptual: A person’s overall evaluation or appraisal of his or her own worth.
Operational: Respondent’s score on the Rosenberg’s (1979) self-esteem scale. The higher the score, the higher the self-esteem of respondent are.
1.7 Limitation of the Study
Some limitations are found in this study. First, since the findings of the study were based only on a few secondary schools in the area of Serdang, Selangor, therefore the generalization of the findings is limited to the sample assessed. Second, the study assessed family strengths only from the adolescents’ perspective and the parents’ perspectives are not in the dataset, whereby these might differ based on the different perspectives. Finally, since the data is obtained through questionnaire survey, therefore the accuracy of the data is depends solely on the honesty of the respondents. Accuracy of the data obtained violated if the respondents answer it not honestly and there is no ways to determine and measure the honesty of respondents while answered the questionnaire.
CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW
A review of literature which related to the how family strength influences on adolescents’ social behavior is presented on this chapter. Apart from that, this literature review will stressed on the variables influencing different level of family strength and adolescents’ social behavior such as personal characteristic and family characteristic. Among the subtopics that discussed in this chapter are as below:
2.1 Family Strength
Family strength refers to a physical bond and quality relationship among the family members. It also refers to the set of relationship and processes that satisfy support and protect to family members in any situation, especially during times of adversity and change (Moore, Whitney, & Kinukawa, 2009). Family member will give love, care, concern, and encourage when one of their family members are facing problem outside. In fact, the level of family strength can be influenced by personal characteristic and family characteristic (Kaslow & Hammerschmidt, 1992; Lin & Chen, 1994; Menaghan & Parcel, 1991; Rozumah & Zoozilawati, 2003; Rumaya et al., 2000; Zarinah & Rozumah, 2001). The characteristic of healthy families can be differentiated from dysfunction counterparts (Moore, Chalk, Scarpa, and Vandivere, 2002). Strong family strength can be the role models to create good relationship among the loved ones (Defrain, 1999). There are many researchers have been discussed that strong family strength families focusing on the social, economic, and psychological function that performed by family members (Moore et al., 2002). For example, a strong family strength would have the high degree of marital status between spouses, satisfying parent-child relationship, and fulfill the needs of the family members from interaction.
2.2 Relationship between Personal Characteristic and Family Strength
Individuals’ personal characteristics have been associated with family strength characteristics. It includes age, gender and self-esteem.
According to Rumaya et al. (2000), family strength characteristics consist of roles, communication, problem solving, affective responsiveness, affective involvement, behavior control and general functioning where there is a significant correlation between respondent’s age and role in the family which is one of the dimensions of the family strength. Besides that, cognitive and problem-solving skills of older respondents are more developed than the younger in building stronger home environment (Menaghan & Parcel, 1991). However, Lin and Chen (1994) suggested that there is also evidence showed that younger respondents tend to appraise their family as stronger compared to older respondents. Despite many researchers have argued on how age is correlated with the family strength, Rozumah and Zoozilawati (2003) found no relationship between age and home environment.
Parents are the primary influence on gender role development in the early years of one’s life, whereby it affects the individuals’ perception towards family strength in the later years (Kaplan, 1991; Miller, 1987; Santrock, 1994). According to Saraceno (1988), the family is the social and symbolic place in which difference, in particular sexual difference, is believed to be fundamental and at the same time constructed. In particular, in the family the gender characterization reflects the individualities of the parents, in other words, parents’ perception towards family strength affects the individuals of different gender perceived family strength. Besides that, Scabini (2000) suggested that the family is a “gender relation”. Gender identities and the expectations towards male and female roles are socialized within the parents-children relationship. Therefore, this socialization within parents-children relationship will affect their perception towards family strength.
Self-esteem is a personal assessment of worthiness which means how oneself truly loving and valuing on itself. High self-esteem provides the basis for success and coping with daily living in a rapidly changing environment which may promote them to face challenges of life more effectively. According to Yabiku, Axinn, and Thornton (1999), family strength correlates with love, support, and deeply involvement of parents in their daily lives. Adolescents showed higher self-esteem when they possessed these elements in their lives. Besides that, capitalizing on their own family strengths can enable self-esteem to grow and prosper in family members regardless of age (Thames and Thomasan, 2008).
2.3 Relationship between Family Characteristic and Family Strength
According to the ecological theory (Bronfenbrenner, 1979), it is suggested that family characteristics and family strength can manipulate adolescent growth. In this study, family characteristics (parental education, number of siblings, and the total family’s monthly income, parental marital status) and family strengths (family emotional health and well-being) both are being discussed have relationship within variable.
2.3.1 Parental education
From the past study, few researches had shown that there was a significant correlation between the level of parental education and family strength (Lin & Chen, 1994; Menaghan & Parcel, 1991). Parents who were more educated, adolescent will have stronger family strength in their family. However, the level of parental education had shown no significant relationships with family strength (Zarinah & Rozumah, 2009).
2.3.2 Number of siblings
Number of siblings in the family had shown a significant positive correlation on the total family strength where the higher number of siblings the adolescent have, the higher the total family strength measured. (Zarinah, Rozumah, Rumaya, & Mansor, 2009; Zarinah & Rozumah, 2009)
2.3.3 Total family monthly income
According to Moore, Whitney, and Kinukawa (2009), it found that the family strength is associated significantly with family income. Parents with higher income will have greater family strength.
2.3.4 Marital status
From the past research, parental marital status may not be that contributor that ensures negative relationship between parents and children. (Barber & Eccles, 1992). However, from another study, family with marital distruption such as divorced family and single-parent family has a negative effect on family dysfunction. (Wu, Hou, & Schimmele, 2008).
2.4 Prosocial Behavior
Prosocial behavior refers to the action which benefits to the society. The prosocial behaviors are including moral reasoning, emphatic concern, agreeableness, and view others from their perspective (Sprecher & Fehr, 2005). Prosocial behavior is an intended action that help and benefiting others. Those activities are includes sharing, helping, rescuing, feeling empathy and comforting (Baston, 1991). It mutually giving love, care, concern, helping, and encourage to those who are in need. According to Staub’s theory (1978, 1990), prosocial is characterized as the positive human being evaluation which concern about oneself and others welfare. In addition, prosocial behavior is tends to be gave benefit to others, rather than to benefit the self. It often entails risk or cost to the self rather than others (Twenge, Baumeister , DeWall, Ciarocco, & Bartels, 2007). Deficits in prosocial skills will leads to lack of moral reasoning and emphatic sensitivity towards other people (Twenge, Baumeister, DeWall, Ciarocco, & Bartels, 2007).
2.5 Relationship between Personal Characteristic and Prosocial Behavior
In this research, we would like to find out the relationship between personal characteristic (age, gender and self-esteem) and prosocial behavior. As what has been discussed on the previous part, prosocial behavior can be categorized as a person who having more tends to prosocial behavior or those less prosocial behaviors.
Different of age stage maybe will lead to different level of prosocial behavior. According to the study of Luong, Charles, and Fingerman (2011) which found that, a person who getting older, will getting in more prosocial behavior in their social life. This can be interpreting that, the relationship between age and prosocial behavior level are positive correlations. Level of prosocial behavior will increases with the age of a person according to this study. This is because, maybe the older age persons are more contribute to their social relationship compare to those more younger.
According to Hing, Ping and Shek (2007), research divided prosocial behavior into 2 part, one part is tend to be more helping, normative behavior and the other is tend to be co-operation and sharing among each others. Study indicate that there is no any relationship between as gender and prosocial behavior towards tend to more helping and normative behavior among Chinese respondents. However, there is significant relationship between gender in prosocial inclination towards affective relationship, co-operation and sharing. Through this study, they had found that, girls are more tend to sharing and co-operation among each other, whereas, boys respondent are more pretend to maintain an affective relationship with their peers (Hing et al., 2007). On the other hands, the study which done by Lee, E. (2009) has shown that, the less prosocial behavior is more related on boys if compare among genders. Boys who are in aggression will be more rejected by peers which cause them tend to be less prosocial behavior.
Self- esteem is the way of how we evaluate or opinion on our own self. It can also be defined as how deeply and how much we love our self (Mortimer, D., 2009). It can be category into low self-esteem and high self-esteem. People who are low self-esteem will always think that they are not good enough and being problem with others. They are no confident in doing and complete their task (Mortimer, D., 2009). Besides that, according to Leary, Tambor, Terdal, and Downs (1995), self-esteem is a good tool to gauge on human’s social ability in acceptance. There is relationship between self-esteem and prosocial behavior. Leary et al. (1995), proposed that, if there is a drop on human self-esteem will result from dropping on prosocial behavior too. Human will become less prosocial behavior if their self-esteem is drop. However, in the research of Blackhart, Nelson, Knowles, and Baumeister (2009), they have found that, there is no significant relationship between the level of self-esteem and the level of prosocial behavior. Respondent who show good sociality then others will not have differ level of self-esteem compare with those not excepted by friends.
2.6 Relationship between Family Characteristic and Prosocial Behavior
A family plays an important role in transition of child to adolescent. There are few studies have shown the relationship between family characteristic and adolescent’s prosocial behavior.
2.6.1 Parental education
According to Wu et al. (2008), there is a significant relationship between parental education and adolescent prosocial behaviour. The higher the parental education level, adolescent will have positive change in prosocial behaviour.
2.6.2 Number of siblings
According to the study from Yuan (2009), the number of siblings is determined by the number of brothers and sisters that live in the same household as the respondent. The more siblings in the family, adolescent helping behavior is higher (Raviv and Bal-Tat, 1980).
2.6.3 Total family monthly income
From the past research, family income had shown a significant relationship in adolescent prosocial behavior. Higher of the family income will affect adolescent tendencies of prosocial behavior. On the other hand, low income status will have negative change in adolescent prosocial behavior (Wu et al, 2008).
2.6.4 Parental Marital Status
According to Lichter, Shanahan, and Gardner (2002), married couple households will have more involvement in volunteer work than single-parent families. From the past research, volunteerism has been indicated as a prosocial behavior (Flanagan, Bowes, Jonsson, Caspo, & Sheblanova, 1998; Flanagan & Gallay, 1995). Therefore, married couple household will have greater adolescents’ prosocial behavior than single-parent families.
2.7 Relationship between Family Strength and Prosocial Behavior
A well family’s connectedness was consistently associated with less problem behavior involvement. Therefore, it tends to be more prosocial behavior involvement (Kerr, Beck, Shattuck, Kattar, & Uriburu, 2003). For example, a person tends to give love, care, concern, helping, and encourage to those who are in need. It often entails risk or cost to the self rather than others (Twenge et al., 2007). Family process which includes of family caring and connectedness is correlated with prosocial behavior involvement of adolescence (Resnick, Harris, & Blum, 1993). By promoting of family care, concern and loved between family members will enhance the family strength in the family. It will promote prosocial behavior involevement of adolescence in later lives. Adolescence who is come from stable and cohesion fmaily is more likely act in caring and prosocial ways (Cochran & Bo, 1989; Romig & Bakken, 1992). They tend to give help to the person in need. Moreover, family plays an important role in construct adolescent prosocial behavior. Parents are becoming of their role model and learn the lifestyle which asserted by their parents. Hence, the quality of parental attachment within child will contribute to the type and frequency of adolescents’ prosocial behavior (Eberly & Montemayor, 1999).
In this chapter, most of the literatures are retrieved from western country. It may have slightly differences in the culture and values. In addition, some of the literatures we have reviewed have been used since many years ago; it might not really shows the realistic on current scenario or situation as the changes is occur every day.
Based on the literature review, we found that majority of previous study showed family strength have si