Thanks, but no thanks: women's avoidance of help-seeking in the context of a dependency-related stereotype

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

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    19 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The stereotype that women are dependent on men is a commonly verbalized, potentially damaging aspect of benevolent sexism. We investigated how women may use behavioral disconfirmation of the personal applicability of the stereotype to negotiate such sexism. In an experiment (N = 86), we manipulated female college students' awareness that women may be stereotyped by men as dependent. We then placed participants in a situation where they needed help. Women made aware of the dependency stereotype (compared to controls who were not) were less willing to seek help. They also displayed a stronger negative correlation between help-seeking and post help-seeking affect-such that the more help they sought, the worse they felt. We discuss the relevance of these findings for research concerning women's help-seeking and their management of sexist stereotyping in everyday interaction. We also consider the implications of our results for those working in domains such as health care, teaching, and counseling, where interaction with individuals in need and requiring help is common.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)423-431
    Number of pages9
    JournalPsychology of Women Quarterly
    Volume36
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2012

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