Prosocial Predictors Of Personality Tolerance In Youth


The concept of a tolerant personality is inextricably linked with the concept of prosocial behavior. Prosocial behavior of an individual is characterized by tolerance of thinking, positive forms of social interaction, cooperation, support, assistance to people in difficult life situations. The article studies personality traits contributing to tolerance, social parameters determining personality tolerance as an indicator of psychological stability, social skills which can act as prosocial predictors of personality tolerance in the student environment? The purpose of the study is to determine levels of formation of prosocial predictors of tolerance in students. Key social skills were chosen as prosocial predictors: people management, coordination, emotional intelligence, judgment and decision-making speed, service orientation, negotiation, cognitive flexibility. The study involved 452 students, including 285 girls (63%) and 167 boys (37%) aged 17 to 23-24. They were students studying socionic and engineering sciences. The self-assessment and standardized methods “Tolerance Index” "Conflict tolerance level"; “Tolerance for uncertainty” were used. Students assessed their pro-social predictors as sufficient. The overwhelming majority of students have tolerant and intolerant features. Ethnic and social types of tolerance were identified as well. Tolerance as a personality trait was insignificant. The overwhelming majority of students found it difficult to interact with each other under conflict factors. Tolerance for uncertainty in interpersonal relations contributes to greater stability and viability of relationships.

Keywords: Personality toleranceprosocial predictorsconflict tolerancesocial skills


Since the middle of the 20th century, in psychological theory and practice, a large number of works have been dealing with integrity, security of the individual and society, and various ways for humanizing human activity. The phenomena of altruism, helping behavior, mercy, social tolerance, etc. have been described. Alienation, cynicism, aggression, manifestations of immoral and antisocial behavior contributed to a variety of social work programs, psychological studies aimed at developing tolerant thinking, positive forms of social interaction, cooperation, helping people in difficult life situations at the professional and interpersonal communication levels. .

Problem Statement

The research identifies which traits determine personality tolerance, how socially determined parameters are interrelated with personality tolerance as an indicator of psychological stability, which social skills can be pro-social predictors of personality tolerance.

Research Questions

The concept of a tolerant personality is inextricably linked with the concept of prosocial behavior. These personality constructs can be interpreted in terms of biological expediency and positive socialization.

In the context of the historical evolutionary approach to the development of complex systems, tolerance is considered as a mechanism to support and develop the diversity of these systems, ensuring the expansion of capabilities of these systems in various unpredictable situations and their stability. Tolerance is an opportunity to find stability in the permanent situation of the risk society. A.G. Asmolov believes that the steady growth of diversity between people, ethnic groups, religions and cultures in the historical and evolutionary process suggests that both nature and history “feel” tolerance as a unique evolutionary mechanism for coexistence of individuals, large and small social groups with different development opportunities (Asmolov, 2011). The ideology of tolerance which defines tolerance as a universal norm which ensures diversity in the evolution of various complex systems, is the potential for development of numerous forms of symbiosis, coexistence, social and political interaction, cooperation, mutual assistance and consolidation of various types, races, peoples, nationalities, states, religions and worldviews (Soldatova, Nestik, & Shaigerova, 2011).

Evolutionary social psychology examines the altruistic behavior of individuals in terms of biological selection or biological expediency and explains the social behavior of modern people by genetic factors. W. D. Hamilton said that from an evolutionary point of view, individual behavior is aimed at preserving human genotype. In his theory of mutual assistance, R. Trivers said that help is often mutual and helpers also benefit. It is "mutual altruism". The more often an individual provides assistance, the more often he has the opportunity to receive it himself. In all cultures, there is a rule of reciprocity, obliging people to reimburse help they received. H. Simon suggested a way for explaining altruism based on the evolutionary theory. He argues that an individual who is able to learn social norms from other members of society, enhances his ability to survive. The ability to comply with social norms was formed through natural selection and became part of our genetic structure.

Numerous studies have shown that tolerance is due to prosocial predictors (prognostic social deterministic parameters).

For the first time traits of a tolerant personality were identified by N. Allport. In his work "The Nature of Prejudice", exploring the phenomenon of prejudice and various aspects of prejudice, Allport identified the following features of a tolerant person: high mental flexibility; resistance to frustration; affiliate view of life; liberal political views; empathy capacity; spirituality; humor.

Main components of tolerance are matter of debates. Based on the results of experimental studies, psychologists identified various components of tolerance, some of which are of prosocial nature.

(Asmolov, 2011) connect tolerance with manifestation of sympathy and compassion for another person (which is similar to prosocial behavior), recognition of diversity of human cultures.

(Soldatova, Shaigerova, & Sharova, 2001) distinguished such criteria of tolerance as mutual respect, equality, preservation and development of culture, the ability to follow traditions, religious freedom, cooperation and solidarity in solving problems, positive vocabulary.

(Filatova, 2003) singled out the following features of tolerance in students studying psychology: disposition to others, forbearance, patience, sense of humor, sensitivity, trust, altruism, tolerance for differences, self-control, goodwill, ability not to condemn others, humanism, ability to listen, curiosity, ability to empathy.

(Soldatova, 2003) and her colleagues identified the following components of tolerance: psychological stability, positive attitudes, a system of individual qualities (empathy, altruism, peacefulness, tolerance, cooperation, cooperation, desire for dialogue), a system of personal and group values.

(Bezuleva & Shelamova, 2003) identified such components of a tolerant personality as empathy, communicative tolerance, self-criticalness, self-acceptance and acceptance of others.

(Vyazovets & Lavrova, 2003) identified the following tolerant qualities that dominate in adolescents: patience, tolerance, self-control, humanism, trust, curiosity, listening skills, altruism, sensitivity, humor, and the ability not to blame others.

According to H. Allport, mental flexibility is a backbone quality for forming a tolerant personality. Allport called it tolerance for uncertainty. Tolerance for uncertainty implies the absence of dichotomous logic, the ability to act productively in an unfamiliar environment. For tolerant personalities, a certain and structured situation is not necessary. One of the main components of neurotic problems is rigid expectations, an excessive degree of subjective certainty which exceeds objective predictability (Leontyev, 2015). Describing the current socio-cultural situation, (Asmolov, 2011) said that tolerance for uncertainty is productive for personal development and resistance to stress.

According to (Shkuratova, 2003), cognitive complexity is a backbone quality inherent in a tolerant personality. A cognitively simple person is not able to predict behavior of others and treats other people according to a small number of categories (formal signs). People with a high degree of cognitive complexity have a large number of personality constructs, consider others in many categories. Their system of representations is very flexible.

The World Economic Forum in Davos (2016) identified 10 key social skills that will be relevant until 2020: complex problem solving; critical thinking; creativity; people management, including the ability to resolve conflicts; coordinating with others; emotional intelligence, i.e. the ability to understand emotions, intentions and motivation of others and their own, as well as the ability to manage own emotions and emotions of other people; judgment and decision making, especially under uncertainty; service orientation; negotiation; cognitive flexibility

As you can see, seven out of ten skills implicitly correlate with tolerance and relate to communication and negotiation skills, understanding other persons and helping them. According to our opinion, these social skills (people management, coordinating with others, emotional intelligence, judgment and decision-making, service orientation, negotiation, cognitive flexibility) can be pro-social predictors of tolerance.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study was to determine levels of pro-social predictors of tolerance in modern youth. People management, the ability to coordinate with others, emotional intelligence, judgment and service orientation, negotiation, cognitive flexibility were selected as predictors.

Research Methods

The study involved 452 students, including 285 girls (63%) and 167 boys (37%) aged 17 to 23-24. 38% of respondents studied social sciences (teachers, psychologists, doctors), 62% - engineering sciences (engineers, programmers, technicians).

The study of prosocial predictors of tolerance was conducted using a special questionnaire. The questionnaire included the following instructions: any person evaluates his or her abilities, capabilities, professional and social skills and competencies. The level of development of each quality can be represented by a vertical line, whose low point denotes the lowest development level (0 points), and top one denotes the highest one (10 points). There were ten lines which denoted the following skills: the ability to solve complex problems; critical thinking; creativity; people management; coordination and interaction skills; emotional intelligence; judgment and decision-making speed; customer focusing; negotiation skills; cognitive flexibility. The subject had to note how s/he assesses a development level for each skill at a given period of time.

Additionally, standardized psychodiagnostic questionnaires were used: “Tolerance Index” (Soldatova, 2003); "The level of conflict tolerance" (Fetiskin, Kozlov, & Manuilov, 2002); “Tolerance for Uncertainty” (Mclain, 1993)/


The results of self-assessment of key social skills which are pro-social predictors of tolerance are presented in Table 1 . In general, students assessed their social skills as sufficient (on average 7 out of 10 points).

Table 1 -
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Calculation of the Student's t-criterion showed that the social skills self-assessment level in socionomic students is not different from that in engineering students. This fact suggests that the selected key social skills are universal. The development level for “judgment and decision making speed (tolerance for uncertainty)” is lower in socionomic students. Personal inclinations and attitudes of socionomic students, orientation of their educational programs might determine formation of their professional competencies which can act as prosocial predictors of personality.

Table 2 presents levels of development of pro-social predictors of tolerance using psycho-diagnostic methods.

Table 2 -
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To diagnose the general level of tolerance, the Tolerance Index suggested by G. U. Soldatova was used. Three subscales of the questionnaire are aimed at diagnosing such aspects of tolerance as ethnic tolerance (attitude towards people of a different race and ethnic group), social tolerance (attitude towards minorities, poor, mentally ill people), tolerance as a personality trait (readiness for constructive conflict management and productive cooperation).

The analysis showed that the majority of students have an average level of tolerance. The analysis of its structure allowed us to identify the highest level of development of ethnic and social tolerance. To a lesser extent, students' tolerance is presented as a personality trait.

The study showed that only 10% of students have a high level of conflict tolerance.

According to the McLane survey, 80% of students showed average and high levels of tolerance for uncertainty.

The majority of students are ready to act in unknown situations in a constructive way. They are willing to to rely on reality in rapidly changing circumstances, make decisions without much doubt and fear of failure, which are important personal qualities (and social skills), a productive factor for personal development and resistance to stress.


As prosocial predictors of individual tolerance, key social skills were analyzed: people management, the ability to coordinate with others, emotional intelligence, judgment and decision-making speed, service orientation, negotiation, cognitive flexibility. Students assessed their tolerance levels as sufficient. At the same time, the level of self-assessment of prosocial predictors by socionomic students is not significantly different from the level of self-assessment by engineering students. The overwhelming majority of students have tolerant and intolerant features. They are not stable when interacting with the external environment in crisis situations, preserve the neuro-psychological balance, adapt, prevent confrontation and develop positive relationships with each other and society. The predominance of ethnic and social tolerance speaks for their readiness to tolerate people of other ethnic groups, their ability to engage in multiethnic interaction, tolerance for minorities, people who find themselves in difficult situations. The low level of tolerance as a personality trait speaks for their unreadiness for constructive conflict management and productive cooperation. Only 10% of students with a high level of conflict tolerance demonstrate prosocial behavior in pre-conflict situations, optimize interaction in conflicts, prevent themselves from becoming involved in conflicts, and focus efforts on constructive conflict management. The majority of students find it difficult to interact in conflict situations. Tolerance for uncertainty in interpersonal relations contributes to greater stability and viability of relationships, i.e. the ability to accept another person in all its natural variability, uncontrollability, inconsistency and versatility


The study was funded by the RFBR as part of the research project No 18-313-20001.


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29 March 2019

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Kislyakov, P., Shmelyova, E., Silaeva, O., & Steklova, Y. (2019). Prosocial Predictors Of Personality Tolerance In Youth. In D. K. Bataev (Ed.), Social and Cultural Transformations in the Context of Modern Globalism, vol 58. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 888-894). Future Academy.