Hate Welfare But Help the Poor: How the Attributional Content of Stereotypes Explains the Paradox of Reactions to the Destitute in America

P. J. Henry, Christine Reyna, Bernard Weiner

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Social scientists have documented more negative reactions to the concept of welfare versus the concept of poor, despite the fact that both labels can be used almost interchangeably in current political discussions. We believe that the most proximal explanation rests in the different attributional information contained within the stereotypes of welfare recipients versus poor people. Three studies were conducted to test this idea. The results suggest that the attributional content within stereotypes of welfare recipients, particularly their greater responsibility for their impoverished state compared with poor people, most influences the public's more negative reaction to welfare. The results are discussed in terms of how the rhetoric of stereotypes may be exploited in the political domain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-58
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume34
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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