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

Wakefield, J.R.H. ORCID: 0000-0001-9155-9683, Hopkins, N. and Greenwood, R.M., 2012. Thanks, but no thanks: women's avoidance of help-seeking in the context of a dependency-related stereotype. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 36 (4), pp. 423-431. ISSN 0361-6843


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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 healthcare, teaching and counseling, where interaction with individuals in need and requiring help is common.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Psychology of Women Quarterly
Creators: Wakefield, J.R.H., Hopkins, N. and Greenwood, R.M.
Publisher: Sage
Place of Publication: Thousand Oaks, CA
Date: 2012
Volume: 36
Number: 4
ISSN: 0361-6843
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: EPrints Services
Date Added: 09 Oct 2015 10:55
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2017 13:44

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