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


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.

Original Publication Citation

Son, D., & Padilla-Walker, L. M. (2019, onlinefirst). “Happy helpers”: A multidimensional and mixed-method approach to prosocial behavior and its effects on friendship quality, mental health, and well-being during adolescence. Journal of Happiness Studies.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Journal of Happiness Studies




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor