Happy Helpers: A Multidimensional and Mixed-Method Approach to Prosocial Behavior and Its Effects on Friendship Quality, Mental Health, and Well-Being During Adolescence

  • Daye SonEmail author
  • Laura M. Padilla-Walker
Original Research


The current study used a multidimensional approach to prosocial behavior by (a) exploring various types of adolescent prosocial behavior toward friends (physical helping, sharing, defending, emotional support, including), and (b) examining longitudinal associations among prosocial behavior toward friends, friendship quality, and mental health and well-being outcomes during adolescence (anxiety, life satisfaction, depression). The data were taken from Waves 8, 9, and 10 of the [project name masked for review]. Participants at Wave 8 consisted of 470 adolescents (M age = 18.4 years, SD = 1.04, 49% male, 33% single-parent families) from the United States. Results revealed that overall prosocial behavior for boys and emotional support for girls were positively associated with friendship quality over time. Overall prosocial behavior was also associated with increased life satisfaction 2 years later. Discussion focuses on the multidimensionality of prosocial behavior and implications regarding friendships and mental health and well-being during adolescence.


Prosocial behavior Friendship quality Life satisfaction Anxiety Depression Adolescence 



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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family DynamicsArizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  2. 2.School of Family LifeBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA

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