|The effects of handicapped appearance on cooperation|
Ann Edith Gorewitz
Uploaded by: Pocket Masters
Pockets: Gottesman Libraries Archive, Historical Dissertations
Tags: Attitude (Psychology), People with disabilities
THE EFFECTS OF HANDICAPPED APPEARANCE ON COOPERATION
Ann Edith Gorewitz
The current movement toward placement of handicapped individuals into the community, as opposed to institutionalization, makes it imperative to determine how nonhandicapped persons react to handicapped persons in need of help, particularly in everyday situations. The present study measured the amount of help given to a male and female when they appeared to be nonhandicapped, blind, mentally retarded or wheelchaired and in need of change of a quarter to make a telephone call. The relationship between sex of helpee, and sex, race, age, and socioeconomic level of shoppers to helping behavior was also examined.
Subjects were 420 shoppers, evenly distributed by sex, and randomly selected from the exits of three major department stores in New York City: B. Altman, Macys, and Korvettes. Their ages were approximated according to one of three groups, 15 to 30 year olds, 31 to 45 year olds and shoppers over 45 years of age. The helpees, a male and a female, were two professional actors. Both were 20 years old, Caucasian, with blond hair and blue eyes.
In each of the stores, he1pees approached every tenth person leaving, alternating between tenth male and tenth female, and asked for change of a quarter to make a telephone call. A confederate was situated next to a telephone booth, pretending to make a call while actually collecting data. Positive responses were recorded when anyone stopped, reached into his or her pocket, and either tried to or did produce change. A negative response was recorded when potential helpers said, ˘No÷, without looking or simply ignored the request.
The data were analyzed by a Log-Linear Model. A four-way interaction for type of handicapping condition (wheelchair, blind, mentally retarded, nonhandicapped), sex of helpee (female, male), sex of shopper (female, male) and type of response (yes, no) was found to be of borderline significance. When sex of helpee was fixed, two resulting three-way interactions were found to be of significance at the .01 level. Results of the study demonstrated a difference in the manner in which shoppers aided the male and female helpee under each condition.
The hierarchy under which the female helpee was aided by female shoppers in descending order was wheelchaired, blind, nonhandicapped and mentally retarded. The hierarchy under which she was aided by male shoppers in descending order was blind, nonhandicapped, wheelchaired, and mentally retarded. The hierarchy under which the male helpee was aided by female shoppers in descending order was wheelchaired, blind, nonhandicapped and mentally retarded. The hierarchy under which he was aided by male shoppers in descending order was wheelchaired, blind, mentally retarded and nonhandicapped. Both the male and female shoppers were most likely to help someone of their own sex who was in a wheelchair and least likely to help someone of the opposite sex who was mentally retarded.
A series of Chi Square Analyses were conducted to investigate influence of shoppersĂ race and age and store under which data were collected on helping behavior. Female shoppers in the age group of 15 to 30 aided the female helpee significantly more than female shoppers in the age groups of 31 to 45 and 46+ when the helpee appeared to be mentally retarded. No other significant differences were found.
Results of the study implied that except for mentally retarded persons, handicapped persons are not only aided when in need of help but depending on disability condition, disabled persons may be more apt to receive help than nondisabled persons. This was in contrast to predominantly negative attitudes toward handicapped persons frequently reported in the literature.