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Prosocial Behavior in Intergroup Relations: How Donor Self-Construal and Recipient Group-Membership Shape Generosity

Rod Duclos and Alixandra Barasch

Journal of Consumer Research, 2014, vol. 41, issue 1, 93 - 108

Abstract: This research examines the interplay of self-construal orientation and victim group-membership on prosocial behavior. Whereas consumers primed with an independent self-construal demonstrate similar propensities to help needy in-group and out-group others, an interdependent orientation fosters stronger commitments to aid in-group than out-group members. This interaction holds in both individualistic (i.e., the United States) and collectivistic (i.e., China) nations and seems driven by a belief system. For interdependents, the prospect of helping needy in-group (relative to out-group) members heightens the belief that helping others contributes to their own personal happiness, which in turn increases their propensity to act benevolently. Such in-group/out-group distinctions do not seem to operate among independents. The article concludes by discussing the theoretical implications of our findings for the cross-cultural, intergroup-relations, and prosocial literatures before deriving insights for practice.

Date: 2014
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