Sexual Orientation on Helping Behaviors Among African American College Students

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Updated: Mar 14, 2023
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Seeking help from friends and family members are much easier as opposed to strangers. Many considerations run in the mind of an individual when seeking help from persons they are not aware of. Factors such as the sexual orientation of the person expected to provide help and the time of the day are some of the considerations made before determining the chances of the help being granted.

Sexual orientation and time of the day are therefore important factors that determine the behavior of individuals when it comes to providing help.

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In the context of this research, sexual orientation will refer to the fact of being bisexual, homosexual or heterosexual while the time of the day will refer to the specific time that the help was requested. In determining the influence of these two variables on helping behaviors, this research focuses on African American College students and the likelihood of them providing help.

Literature Review

Sexual orientation has been found to have an influence on the helping behavior of individuals with differences being observed in the behaviors of men and women. Different studies have found different results depending on whether the person requesting help is male or male. In a study carried out by Shaw, Borough, and Fink (1994), it was found that heterosexual men looking for help are more likely to receive the help that individuals who are either bisexuals or homosexuals.

The study also established that the behavior of males and females was the same when responding to help requests from bisexuals and homosexuals (Shaw, Borough & Fink, 1994). In another study developed on the same Paradigm as Shaw’s study, residents of Los Angels showed that the perceived sexual orientation of the person requesting for help has no influence on the chances of help being given (Gabriel et al., 2001).

Further, another study conducted in Germany and related across the US and UK revealed that when shoppers were approached for help by ostensibly pro-gay persons with clothes bearing pro-gay slogans, they were less likely to be helped compared to when they had no pro-gay slogans clothing (Gray et al., 1991). The same study revealed that being female or male did not have an impact on the behavior of the shoppers. The findings of the researchers in the three studies, therefore, agree on the fact that the sexual orientation of the person requesting for help is likely to affect the behavior of those expected to give help. The helping behavior is however not affected by the person requesting help either being male or female.

Another group of studies also have the same findings of sexual orientation having an influence on the helping behavior but unlike the other studies, these group of studies established that the gender of people seeking help having an impact on the helping behavior. Gore et al. (1997) find out those lesbians seeking help are more likely to receive help faster when compared to gay men seeking for help. In a different study carried out in Britain, it was established that although gay and lesbians meet discrimination daily when they seek for help, the discrimination shown to gay men is more extreme when compared to that of women (Ellis & Fox, 2006).

Results from the same study also indicated that the male is likely to give help to lesbians while the female is more likely to provide help to gay men. The helping behavior, therefore, depends on the gender of the person seeking help in relation to the person expected to provide help. Data collected from different courtiers also revealed that cultural differences have a role in determining the helping behavior when sexual orientation is concerned.

Cultural practices in the US, Germany, Great Britain, and Switzerland revealed that gay men are more likely to influence negative helping behaviors compared to lesbian women (Gabriel & Banse, 2006). Conclusions from these studies, therefore, reveal that even though sexual orientation influenced helping behaviors, the extent of the influence is subject to whether the person seeking help is male or female. Females who are sexually oriented are likely to get more help than those of the male gender.


The researcher will make use of the wrong call technique to the African America College Students at collecting primary data. Notes will be made on the time taken by the respondents in calling back the sexually oriented persons in need of help and the kind of response that the students give. The call will also be made during different times of; morning hours, noon hours, evening hours and during the night to determine whether the time of seeking help also has an impact on influencing helping behavior of the college students.

A research hypothesis that sexual orientation and time of the day influence helping behaviors of African American College students will be developed and the data collected used to either accept or reject it. Prior to carrying out primary research, the researcher will also carry out secondary research that will form the foundation of the research and enable comparison of the results and the already existing result.


The research will target a total of 60 respondents, 30 males, and 30 females. All the respondents are expected to be over the age of 16 but below 35 years. In selecting the respondents, stratified sampling procedure will be employed to ensure that all possible participants are given equal opportunity. The first round will involve selecting the male respondents while the second group will be selecting the female respondents.

Since informing the respondents the purpose of the research will affect the results of the research, all respondents will not be informed of the purpose of the research but to ensure their confidentiality is protected, they will neither be asked of their names nor their area of study. To examine the relationship between sexual orientation on helping behaviors among African American students a 2 x 2 x 2 Between-Subjects Factorial ANOVA design was conducted with time of day and sexual orientation as independent variables and helping behavior as dependent variable. However, there was no significant effect in this study. A nonreactive measure of homophobia is presented.


Data analysis is imported in transforming the collected data into meaningful information from which conclusions can be drawn. In this research, the researcher will make use of quantitative research techniques in analyzing the data collected. All the responses collected from the calls made will be quantified to make it easier for making comparisons and grouping the responses into specific groups depending on how the respondents behave. Making use of quantitative analysis is useful to the researcher as it will allow for making inferential analysis where the results obtained from the sample population will be used as a generalization all the college students.

Conclusion and Implications

The findings from this study show that male participants were less likely to give help to gay men than to lesbians, but female participants were not less likely to help lesbians than gay men. It was expected that more help would be given to observed male heterosexuals than to homosexuals, mainly among male participants.

Homophobia is a term often used to describe negative attitudes towards lesbians and gay men. An experimental study help determine whether men are more negative towards homosexuals than women. Since the late 1960s, the concept homosexual identity has been used extensively in the literature on homosexuality investigators. As a result, the study of homosexual identity has been characterized by confusion, disarray, and ambiguity.

A multiplicity of terminologies makes comparisons between studies difficult. There has been little attempt to place theoretical proposals or data within the framework of existing psychological literature on identity. Continuing with Vivienne C. Cass research, several assumptions critical to an understanding of homosexual identity are commonly made, and several of these are discussed: The synonymy of homosexual identity and self-concept: homosexual identity as childhood identity; homosexual identity as sexual identity; and homosexuality as a distinct essence.

Most college students are identified as heterosexual, bisexual or homosexual. Homosexuals or lesbians are defined as people with sexual attractions towards the same sex. Heterosexuals are people who value opposite sexual attractions and bisexuals are individuals who are sexually attracted to both sexes.

Furthermore, the development of a homosexual, lesbian, or bisexual identity is difficult process. The process causes confliction among African American college students. Advocating for positive behavior interactions will motivate people to learn more from the scholars and apply the knowledge in their examiners. Lack of family support and any help in the schools will automatically bring in the devastating situation for students plus affecting their future.


  1. Ellis, J., & Fox, P. (2001). The Effect of Self?Identified Sexual Orientation on Helping Behavior in a British Sample: Are Lesbians and Gay Men Treated Differently?. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 31(6), 1238-1247.
  2. Gabriel, U., & Banse, R. (2006). Helping behavior as a subtle measure of discrimination against lesbians and gay men: German data and a comparison across countries 1. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 36(3), 690-707.
  3. Gabriel, U., Beyeler, G., Däniker, N., Fey, W., Gutweniger, K., Lienhart, M., & Gerber, B. L. (2001). Perceived sexual orientation and helping behavior: The wrong number technique, a Swiss replication. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 32(6), 743-749.
  4. Gore, K. Y., Tobiasen, M. A., & Kayson, W. A. (1997). Effects of sex of caller implied sexual orientation of caller, and urgency on altruistic response using the wrong number technique. Psychological Reports, 80(3), 927-930.
  5. Gray, C., Russell, P., & Blockley, S. (1991). The effects upon helping behavior of wearing pro?gay identification. British Journal of Social Psychology, 30(2), 171-178.
  6. Shaw, J. I., Borough, H. W., & Fink, M. I. (1994). Perceived sexual orientation and helping behavior by males and females: The wrong number technique. Journal of Psychology & Human Sexuality, 6(3), 73-81.
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Sexual Orientation on Helping Behaviors Among African American College Students. (2019, Apr 24). Retrieved from