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HELPSHURT
Helpful if someone is hurt/upset/ill, past 6 months

Codes and Frequencies



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Description

For sample children age 4 to 17, HELPSHURT reports parents' responses to a question about whether, during the past 6 months, the child was helpful if someone was hurt, upset, or feeling ill.

The interviewer began this part of the survey by stating, "I am going to read a list of items that describe children. For each item, please tell me if it has been not true, somewhat true, [or] certainly true for [sample child] during the past 6 months," and handed the respondent a flashcard listing the three acceptable responses.

As discussed in more detail in below, HELPSHURT is intended to be a measure of the child's "prosocial behavior." HELPSHURT was part of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire Extended (SDQ-EX), which, according to the 2001 and 2003-2004 Manuals, was included "to monitor emotional and behavioral problems in children and the impact that these problems have on children's lives."

Directions to Interviewers on Asking this Question 

The Field Representative's Manuals for 2001 and 2003-2004 directed interviewers that, when an item included two or more behaviors linked by an "or":

For those questions, emphasize the OR. Be sure that the respondent understands that the question should be answered positively if the child does ANY part of the question.

The Manuals for 2001 and 2003-2004 also provided directions on how interviewers should respond if parents indicated that the child was taking medication:

If the parent indicates that the child is taking medication, the parent should answer the questions as best possible describing their child's behavior when the child is NOT on the medication. However, do not ask if the child is on medication. Only if the parent states that the child takes medication and they do not know how to respond to the question, inform the parent to answer as best as they can, describing the child when the child is NOT on the medication.

Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire Extended

HELPSHURT is part of a set of 33 questions from the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire Extended (SDQ-EX) developed by Dr. Robert Goodman, Institute of Psychiatry, London, England.

 

As the Appendix on SDQ in the 2001 and 2003-2004 Codebook of the NHIS public use files explains:

The parent respondent version of the SDQ was added as a mental health supplement for children ages 4-17 as part of a collaborative agreement between NCHS and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The first part of the SDQ consists of 25 scale items . . . These items can be divided into five subscales measuring the following psychological attributes or dimensions:
  • emotional symptoms;
  • conduct problems;
  • hyperactive behavior;
  • peer relationships;
  • prosocial behavior.

The survey forms for 2001 and 2003-2004 also acknowledged the debt to Dr. Goodman, as follows:

The SDQ questions are copyrighted by Robert Goodman, Ph.D., FRCPsych, MRCP. State and local agencies may use these questions without charge and without seeking separate permission provided the wording is not modified, all the questions are retained, and Dr. Goodman's copyright is acknowledged.

This information was included for legal reasons and was not shared with survey respondents. More information on the SDQ is available at www.sdqinfo.com.

Scoring Responses to SDQ-EX: Prosocial Behavior

As noted in the Appendix on SDQ in the Codebooks for the NHIS public use files for 2001 and 2003-2004, HELPSHURT is an element of the 5-item subscale dealing with positive, prosocial behavior.

 

The other elements of this subscale on prosocial behavior are:

  • Readily shares treats, toys, games, or CDs with other children, past 6 months (SHARES)
  • Considerate of other people's feelings, past 6 months (CONSIDERATE)
  • Kind to younger children, past 6 months (KINDTOKIDS)
  • Often offers help to others (parents, teachers, other children), past 6 months (HELPFUL)

Valid responses for these questions were "not true," "somewhat true," and "certainly true." A response of "not true" for these variables (code 0 in IPUMS NHIS) implies the lowest level of prosocial behavior; a response of "certainly true" for these variables (code 2 in IHIS) implies the highest level of prosocial behavior; and a response of "somewhat true" on these variables (code 1 in IHIS) implies an intermediate level of prosocial behavior. Researchers may choose to use a single variable from this set, but they can also sum the scores across the 5 variables. Summing these elements yields a total score for prosocial behavior ranging from 0 (the lowest level) to 10 (the highest level).

Summing the values for these variables yields valid totals only if the analyst excludes not in universe cases (persons other than sample children age 4-17, code 6 in IHIS) and cases with missing information (codes 7, 8, and 9 in IHIS).

The www.sdqinfo.com website provides guidelines for interpreting subscale scores (with Not in Universe and unknown cases excluded) for the SDQ-EX. For "Parent Completed" results (as in the NHIS), the www.sdqinfo.com website suggests the following rough guideline for interpreting the summed score for "Prosocial Behavior": Normal (6-10), Borderline (5), and Abnormal (0-4).

Scoring Responses to SDQ-EX: Combining the 0ther 4 Subscales

For four of the five subscales of the SDQ-EX (emotional symptoms, conduct problems, hyperactivity behavior, and peer relationships), items can be added for an overall score from 0 to 40 that "can be used to identify likely 'cases' with mental health disorders," according to the www.sdqinfo.com website. The items from the subscale on Prosocial Behavior are excluded from this "Total Difficulties Score."

 

As the Appendices on SDQ in the Codebooks for 2001 and 2003-2004 explain,

The fifth subscale, the Prosocial subscale, describes children's positive behaviors. These items are excluded from the overall SDQ scoring when using the SDQ to identify children with psychological problems.

Notably, in IHIS, for the Prosocial Scale and its individual items, the highest values are most desirable, and the lowest values are the least desirable. In IHIS, for the other SDQ-EX subscales and the "Total Difficulties Scale," the opposite is true.

The elements of the other 4 subscales (excluding the Prosocial Behavior scale) in the SDQ-EX are as follows:

For measuring "Emotional Symptoms"
  • Often unhappy, depressed, or tearful (UNHAPPY)
  • Complains of headaches/stomach-aches or sickness, past 6 months (STOMACHE)
  • Has many worries or often seems worried (WORRIED)
  • Nervous or clingy in new situations, past 6 months (CLINGY)
  • Many fears or easily scared, past 6 months (FEARFUL)
For measuring "Conduct Problems"
  • Often loses temper, past 6 months (BADTEMPER)
  • Often fights or bullies kids, past 6 months (BULLIES)
  • Often lies or cheats, past 6 months (LIECHEAT)
  • Steals from home, school, or elsewhere, past 6 months (STEALS)
For measuring "Hyperactivity Behavior"
  • Restless or overactive, past 6 months (OVERACTIVE)
  • Constantly fidgeting, past 6 months (FIDGETY)
  • Good attention span and finishes tasks, past 6 months (GOODATTEN)
For measuring "Peer Relationships"
  • Prefers to be alone, past 6 months (SOLITARY)
  • Had at least 1 good friend, past 6 months (HASFRIEND)
  • Liked by other kids, past 6 months (KIDSLIKE)
  • Was picked on or bullied, past 6 months (PICKEDON)
  • Gets along better with adults than kids, past 6 months (GETALONGAD)

Comparability

The variable HELPSHURT is completely comparable over time. This variable is an element of the extended version of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ-EX), which was fielded for sample children in the NHIS in 2001, 2003, and 2004. It is not an element of the abbreviated version of SDQ, which was fielded for sample children in 2002 and 2005-2006.

Universe

  • 2001: Sample children age 4 to 17.
  • 2003-2004: Sample children age 4 to 17.

Availability

  • 2001, 2003-2004

Weights