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Antecedents and consequences of helping among adolescents

PhD ceremony:Ms L.G.M. (Loes) van Rijsewijk
When:October 18, 2018
Supervisor:prof. dr. D.R. (René) Veenstra
Co-supervisors:dr. J.K. (Jan Kornelis) Dijkstra, dr. C.E.G. (Christian) Steglich
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Behavioural and Social Sciences

The onset of adolescence is a challenging period in life, given that adolescents face a myriad of social, cognitive, and biological developments. Adolescents do not confront these challenges on their own, but seek help from their social network. Classmates play an important role herein, but there is little knowledge about help relations among adolescents. In her dissertation, Loes van Rijsewijk provides answers to questions such as who helps whom, what does a help network look like, and what are the consequences of help? To map out help networks, over 1000 adolescents were asked to identify classmates who help them with problems. This approach added novel insights to the existing body of knowledge on adolescent help behavior. Amongst others, Loes found that help behavior is selective, that is, primarily asked from or directed towards similar others and friends; that tendencies towards giving and receiving help vary over friendships and contexts; and that help affects social embeddedness, achievement, and depressive symptoms. Together, these results form a first, important step towards unraveling adolescents’ help networks.