The key to understanding how people come to care about their community might lie in the relationships fostered as adolescents, say researchers in psychology.
Canadian activist Craig Kielburger was only 12 when he travelled to India to learn about child labourers; Malala Yousafzai, 14, defied the Taliban in Afghanistan and insisted on education for women. Their lives demonstrate that under the right conditions, the desire to reform the world starts early in life.
Organisations such as ‘Teen Activist’ and ‘Do Something’ rally teens to make a difference in their communities. Of course, not every teen will step forward and get involved, the Journal of Youth and Adolescence reports.
“Increasing our understanding of adolescents’ relationships with friends can help us understand what kind of adults they might become,” says Anna-Beth Doyle, professor emeritus of psychology at Concordia University.
Heather Lawford, now a faculty member at Bishop’s University, completed the study as her doctoral thesis.The study is the first to explore how concern for others has its roots in adolescence. The researchers collected yearly responses from 142 teens between 13 – 16 years old.
Researchers found that adolescents who had caring relationships with friends went on to develop a concern for others beyond their immediate circle.IANS