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Helping them stay where they are: status effects on dependency/autonomy-oriented helping



Helping them stay where they are: status effects on dependency/autonomy-oriented helping



Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 106(1): 58-72



On the basis of expectation states theory and Weiner's attributional model of help giving (Weiner, 1980), we predicted that low-status help seekers would be viewed as chronically dependent and their need as due to lack of ability, leading to the giving of dependency-oriented help (i.e., full solution to the problem). High-status help seekers were expected to be viewed as competent and their request as representing their high motivation to overcome a transient difficulty, resulting in autonomy-oriented help (i.e., tools to solve the problem). Help seeking is viewed as a stigma-consistent behavior that implies weakness when help seekers are low-status individuals and as strength when they are high-status individuals. Three experiments supported these predictions. The 4th experiment indicated that low-status persons who seek autonomy-oriented help are not seen as chronically dependent. Implications of these findings for helping and inequality are discussed.

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Accession: 053505817

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 23978066

DOI: 10.1037/a0034152


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