The effect of self-esteem in dependency helping

The present study sought to examine the effect of self-esteem on helping in a situation where the dependency helping situation was varied. After taking the Janis-Field Feelings of Inadequacy Scale and the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale, subjects were given false feedback aimed at temporarily inducing either an increase in self-esteem, a decrease in self-esteem, or no change in self-esteem. In the second part of the experiment, subjects were workers operating under the supposed guidance of their peer who was playing the part of their "supervisor." The subjects in the high dependency condition were informed that the Experimenter's evaluation of the supervisor would depend largely upon their productivity, while the subjects in the low dependency condition were told this evaluation would not be affected by their performance. The result support the notion that there is greater helping or those in the high dependency condition than those in the low dependency condition. Available evidence indicated that the self-esteem manipulation may not have been successful within the framework of this experiment. A 3 X 2 analysis of variance (dependency x acute self-esteem) yielded only a main effect for dependency indicating that subjects help more in the high dependency condition than in the low dependency condition. A further 3 X 2 X 2 analysis of variance (including scores on the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale} yielded a main effect for need for approval indicating that subjects with high need for approval help more than subjects with low need for approval. The results were discussed in terms of' the relationship to previous studies on dependency and helping and the probable failure of the self-esteem manipulation.