Responses to outgroup help: The role of type of help and sense of control

Samer Halabi*, John F. Dovidio, Arie Nadler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Helping may be motivated by a variety of reasons, including the desire of helpers to enhance the power of the ingroup and diminish the power of the outgroup. Accordingly, receiving unsolicited assistance from an outgroup member is often responded to negatively by ingroup members because it can undermine feelings of the efficacy of one's group and ultimately threaten the position of one's group relative to the helper's group. The present research explored how a sense of control, induced incidentally, can ameliorate such negative consequences of being helped. Two studies employed a minimal group paradigm and examined the response to an offer of help from a member of another group (Experiments 1 and 2) compared to an offer from a member of the same group (Experiment 2). The results of these two experiments converged to reveal that having the opportunity to exert control, even incidentally, can ameliorate negative responses to an outgroup helper and to the outgroup as a whole. These findings have both theoretical and practical implications. Identifying factors, such as control, that can promote the acceptance of assistance from members of other groups can complement previous work focusing on influences that exacerbate negative reactions to help, providing a more comprehensive understanding of intergroup helping relations and informing interventions to improve relations between groups. Theoretical and applied implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)999-1012
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Applied Social Psychology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021


FundersFunder number
Israel Science Foundation1288/16


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