Nice Kids, Healthy Kids? Prosocial Behavior, Psychological Problems and Quality of Life in Children, Preadolescents, and Adolescents with and without Chronic Health Conditions

Carlos Carona, Catarina Vitorino, Ana Cláudia Alves-Nogueira, Helena Moreira, Maria Cristina Canavarro, Neuza Silva


Objective First, to compare prosocial behaviors and psychological maladjustment between children, preadolescents and adoles- cents with and without chronic health conditions; and second, to test the direct and indirect effects, via psychological problems, of prosocial behavior on quality of life (QoL). In addition, the invariance of this model was examined across different age groups and health conditions.

Methods – Self-report questionnaires on the aforementioned variables were administered to a sample of 312 children, preadolescents and adolescents with chronic health conditions (asthma, epilepsy, and cerebral palsy) and 118 healthy controls. Univariate and multivariate analyses of covariance were conducted to examine differences in prosocial behaviors and psychological maladjustment, respectively. AMOS computational tool was used for path analysis-based mediation. Multi-group analyses were performed to test the invariance of the structural model.

Results There were no differences in the reported levels of prosocial behavior of children and youths with and without chronic health conditions. The association between prosocial behaviors and QoL was mediated by externalizing problems. The invariance of the proposed model was observed across health conditions and age groups.

Conclusions Interventions targeting prosocial behaviors may improve QoL outcomes in children and youths, through the prevention or mitigation of externalizing psychological problems, regardless of their age group or the presence/absence of a chronic health condition.


Prosocial Behavior; Quality Of Life; Children, Preadolescents and Adolescents; Psychological Problems; Chronic Health Conditions.

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