Gendered Help: Effects of Gender and Realm of Achievement on Autonomy- Versus Dependency-Oriented Help Giving


  • Lily Chernyak-Hai
  • Samer Halabi
  • Arie Nadler


Building on research on helping relations and gender stereotypes, the present research explored the effects of gender-stereotypical perceptions on willingness to offer dependency- and autonomy-oriented help to women and men. Two studies were conducted in a 2 (Gender of the person in need) × 2 (Domain of achievement) between-participants design. Study 1 examined future success expectations of male versus female students needing help in performing either a stereotypically masculine or a stereotypically feminine academic task, and the kind of help participants preferred to offer them. Study 2 further explored perceptions of male versus female students who exhibited long-term failure in a gender-stereotypical versus non-stereotypical academic task, perceptions of their intellectual and social abilities, feelings toward them, attributions of their need, and the preferred way of helping. Our findings indicate that women failing in a stereotypically masculine domain may expect others to give them dependency- rather than autonomy-oriented help, and judge their traits and abilities in an unflattering manner. In other words, gender achievement stereotypes create a social context where helping interactions reproduce power and status discrepancies.