Meta-stereotypes, social image and help seeking: dependency-related meta-stereotypes reduce help-seeking behaviour

Juliet R.H. Wakefield, Nick Hopkins, Ronni Michelle Greenwood

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    21 Citations (Scopus)


    People who need help can be reluctant to seek it. This can be due to social image concerns. Here, we investigate if these concerns may be prompted by a salient negative meta-stereotype: the belief that one's group is judged negatively by another group. Specifically, we researched group members' help-seeking behaviour in the context of a dependency-related meta-stereotype. In a two-condition study (N=45), we manipulated participants' belief that their national group was judged dependent by a significant out-group. We then examined their subsequent help-seeking behaviour on a real-world task. Participants whose social identity as a group member was salient showed greater reluctance to seek help when the meta-stereotype was made prominent compared with when it was not. This suggests that, in a context where social image and social identity concerns are relevant, group members are willing to sacrifice the possibility of accessing needed help in order to avoid confirming a negative stereotype of their group. The implications of these results for helping transactions and community development are discussed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)363-372
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of Community & Applied Social Psychology
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


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