Being nice to Bobo: The use of three prosocial modeling interventions to decrease physical aggression and increase prosocial behavior among preschoolers with behavior disorders
Sanborn, Kathryn Jeane
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Beginning with Bandura's Bobo doll study, research has repeatedly demonstrated that children exposed to physical aggression often subsequently model the same aggressive behaviors. Although modeling prosocial behavior has been less studied, available research indicates increases in modeled prosocial behaviors. The present study seeks to determine whether modeled prosocial behavior decreases aggression and increases prosocial behavior among physically aggressive preschoolers. Using a multiple baseline design across participants, four preschool aged children were exposed to three phases of a prosocial modeling intervention. The first modeling phase examined the effect of viewing and then role-playing specific, predetermined prosocial behaviors. The second phase consisted of participants viewing two peers modeling these prosocial behaviors. The final intervention phase involved participants watching themselves perform these prosocial behaviors, also called self-modeling. Both graphic and statistical analyses suggest that all four participants evidenced an immediate and sharp decline in aggressive behaviors between baseline and the role-play phase of the intervention. These declines in physical aggression were maintained throughout the peer modeling and self-modeling phases, as well as at follow-up. Results indicate that prosocial modeling had no effect upon subsequent prosocial behaviors. Implications, limitations and directions for future research are discussed.