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      Having less, giving more: The influence of social class on prosocial behavior.

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          Abstract

          Lower social class (or socioeconomic status) is associated with fewer resources, greater exposure to threat, and a reduced sense of personal control. Given these life circumstances, one might expect lower class individuals to engage in less prosocial behavior, prioritizing self-interest over the welfare of others. The authors hypothesized, by contrast, that lower class individuals orient to the welfare of others as a means to adapt to their more hostile environments and that this orientation gives rise to greater prosocial behavior. Across 4 studies, lower class individuals proved to be more generous (Study 1), charitable (Study 2), trusting (Study 3), and helpful (Study 4) compared with their upper class counterparts. Mediator and moderator data showed that lower class individuals acted in a more prosocial fashion because of a greater commitment to egalitarian values and feelings of compassion. Implications for social class, prosocial behavior, and economic inequality are discussed.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
          Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
          American Psychological Association (APA)
          1939-1315
          0022-3514
          2010
          2010
          : 99
          : 5
          : 771-784
          Article
          10.1037/a0020092
          20649364
          a407dd03-7619-4146-8dc2-6c900b60bc97
          © 2010
          Product
          Self URI (article page): http://doi.apa.org/getdoi.cfm?doi=10.1037/a0020092

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