Air Pollution and Prosocial Behavior in Chinese Adolescents : The Role of Resilience and Interpersonal Relations

Yukun FENG, Na NI, Wei LIU, Xinli CHI*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


Past studies have indicated that air pollution is a major environmental factor that negatively affects prosocial behavior in adolescents. However, the mechanism underlying this negative relationship has not been fully explored. This study postulated that this impact may occur through individual resilience, a major psychological capital for adolescents. In addition, we studied interpersonal relations, namely, adolescents’ perceived family and teacher support, which may moderate the proposed relationship.

This study combined the three-year tracking survey data of 11-to-15 old adolescents (N=1301; approximately 48% female) in China with objective data from the air quality index (AQI) to measure the level of air pollution.

Findings from ordinary least squares analysis indicated that air pollution negatively influences adolescents’ prosocial behavior, and their resilience mediates this negative relationship. In addition, the results showed that the negative effect of air pollution on adolescent resilience is attenuated by higher family income, whereas it is accentuated by the absence of teacher support.

Our study provides insight into how the negative effect of air pollution on adolescents’ prosocial behavior is mediated by their psychological resilience, and highlights the moderating role of adolescents’ interpersonal relations in the association between air pollution and their psychological resilience. Our research also provides practical advice on how families, teachers, and psychologists can mitigate this negative impact.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2569-2580
Number of pages12
JournalPsychology Research and Behavior Management
Early online date11 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province (#2021A1515011330), the Fund for Philosophy and Social Science of Shenzhen Municipality, China (#SZ2018B007), the Shenzhen Education Science Planning Project (#cgpy21001), and the Shenzhen University-Lingnan University Joint Research Programme (#202202001).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Feng et al.


  • psychological resilience
  • environment
  • interpersonal relations
  • prosocial behavior
  • adolescents
  • China


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