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Keywords:

  • common identity;
  • helping intentions;
  • homelessness;
  • indigenous Australians;
  • poverty reduction

The article reports on research designed to test Australian attitudes towards helping impoverished members of the Australian society, in particular, indigenous and homeless people. Australian university students completed a questionnaire to measure their attitudes towards helping homeless and indigenous people under conditions that primed a common Australian identity. The findings showed that priming an inclusive identity led to relatively stronger intentions to help indigenous Australians but not homeless people. It was also found that participants preferred to endorse more autonomy than dependency help to both indigenous and homeless Australians. Whereas the findings indicate that helping intentions towards those living with poverty may be accentuated by priming a common in-group, they also imply that helping attitudes vary with the type of help being sought and the way people perceive the cause of someone's poverty.