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date: 29 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter reviews social psychological research on help giving and helping relations from the 1950s until today. The first section considers the conditions under which people are likely to help others, personality dispositions that characterize helpful individuals, and motivational and attributional antecedents of helpfulness. The second section looks at long-term consequences of help and examines help in the context of enduring and emotionally significant relationships. Research has shown that in the long run help can increase psychological and physical well-being for helpers but discourage self-reliance for recipients. The third section analyzes helping from intra- and intergroup perspectives, considering how its provision can contribute to helpers’ reputations within a group or promote the positive social identity of in-groups relative to out-groups. Help is thus conceptualized as a negotiation between the fundamental psychological needs for belongingness and independence. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Keywords: help giving, helping relations, help seeking, belongingness, independence, interpersonal relations, intergroup relations, autonomy-oriented help, dependency-oriented help, person–situation interaction

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