Traits, situational factors, and their interactions as explanations of helping behavior

G. Tyler Lefevor, Blaine Fowers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


This study is guided by the research question, are personality traits, character traits, situational factors, and their interaction all necessary to explain helping behavior? 121 undergraduates' scores on the Agreeableness scale of the Big Five Inventory and the Kindness scale of the Values in Action Inventory were examined in conjunction with experimentally induced positive, neutral, or negative mood via false feedback on a bogus intelligence test. The number of spilled pencils participants helped retrieve in a "mishap" was the measure of helping. Kindness significantly predicted helping behavior, but neither feedback condition nor Agreeableness was significantly related to helping. Interactions between Kindness, Agreeableness, and feedback conditions were non-significant. These results highlight a stronger contribution to helping behavior from the trait of Kindness than from the trait of Agreeableness and situational factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-163
Number of pages5
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • Character trait
  • Helping behavior
  • Person vs. situation debate
  • Personality trait
  • Situational factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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