Paying it forward: How helping others can reduce the psychological threat of receiving help

K. Alvarez, E. van Leeuwen

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    Abstract

    This paper shows that receiving help could be psychologically harmful for recipients, and passing on help to others after receiving help ("helping forward") is a good strategy to improve and restore help recipients' self-competence. Participants (N=87) received autonomy- or dependency-oriented help and anticipated helping forward or not. Compared to receiving autonomy-oriented help, receiving dependency-oriented help negatively affected participants' self-competence and their evaluation of the helper. Anticipation of future helping increased the liking for and evaluation of the helper. After paying help forward, participants felt more self-competent than before helping, and this effect was more pronounced among former recipients of dependency-oriented help. These results show that helping forward can negate the psychological threat associated with receiving help.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number1
    Pages (from-to)1-9
    JournalJournal of Applied Social Psychology
    Volume2015
    Issue number45
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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