Peace Psychology and Prosocial Behavior

Document Type


Publication Date



Theory and practice in peace psychology seek to explain and procure both negative and positive peace. Negative peace involves the prevention and mitigation of violent episodes and promotes harmonious relations within and across individuals and groups. Positive peace is aimed at the mitigation of structural violence or hierarchical power relations and the promotion of socially just relations among members of a society. In the current chapter, a multilevel framework, consisting of macro, meso, and micro levels of analysis, is used to identify prosocial processes involved both negative and positive peace. For convenience, the authors use the terms “peacemaking” and “peacebuilding” in reference to processes involved in negative and positive peace, respectively. While prosocial aspects of peacemaking involve cooperative behavior across levels, from micro to macro, within the context of positive interdependence, prosocial aspects of peacebuilding engender cooperation at micro and meso levels but often necessitate noncooperation at the macro level to yield more equitable structural arrangements among groups of people.