The Effect of Self-Identified Sexual Orientation on Helping Behavior in a British Sample: Are Lesbians and Gay Men Treated Differently?

Authors

  • Jason Ellis,

    1. Thames Valley University London, United Kingdom
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  • Pauline Fox

    Corresponding author
    1. Thames Valley University London, United Kingdom
      1 Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Pauline Fox, Department of Psychology, Thames Valley University, St. Mary's Road, London W5 5RF, United Kingdom.
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1 Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Pauline Fox, Department of Psychology, Thames Valley University, St. Mary's Road, London W5 5RF, United Kingdom.

Abstract

In a British sample, the wrong-number technique was used to examine levels of helping behavior shown toward lesbians and gay men. A wrong-number telephone call, from either a man who self-identified as gay or heterosexual, or a woman who self-identified as either lesbian or heterosexual, was made to 232 men and women. The caller requested help by asking the respondent to relay a message to his or her partner by telephone. As predicted, lesbians and gay men were less likely to be given help than were their same-gender heterosexual counterparts. However, lesbians were given a similar amount of help as were heterosexual men. Male participants were less likely to give help to gay men than to lesbians, but female participants were no less likely to help lesbians than gay men. The results suggest that, although lesbians and gay men meet discrimination in everyday life, the level of discrimination may differ.

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