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Love me, because I rely on you: Dependency-oriented help-seeking as a strategy for human mating



Teng, F., Wang, X., Lei, Q., & Poon, K.-T. (2024). Love me, because I rely on you: Dependency-oriented help-seeking as a strategy for human mating. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

2022 Impact Factor 7.6 | 5-year Impact Factor 9.2

2022 JCR Rank 3/63, Q1 in Psychology, Social | 2023 SJR Rank 4/304, Q1 in Psychology - Social Psychology



Existing research has suggested a predominantly negative view of dependency-oriented help. In contrast, the current research aims to test the positive function of dependency-oriented help in intimate relationships where interpersonal dependency is valued. We hypothesized that dependency-oriented help-seeking could function in communicating liking and romantic interests and, therefore, can be instrumental in attracting mates. Our hypothesis was confirmed across nine studies (N = 2,535). For help-seekers, a mate-seeking motivation could positively predict (Study 1) and lead to (Studies 2A–4) dependency-oriented help-seeking behavior tendencies (Studies 1–2B) and actual behavior (Studies 3 and 4). For help-providers, after activating a mating goal, imagining (Studies 5A and 5B) and actually receiving (Study 6) dependency-oriented (vs. autonomy-oriented) help-seeking requests from a potential mate increased help-providers’ romantic interests in that mate. Study 7 further showed the function of dependency-oriented help from the perspective of romantic competitors. As such, people in romantic relationships were more likely to see a potential competitor as a mate poacher when this person asked for dependency-oriented help from their partner. Theoretical and practical implications have been discussed. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2024 APA, all rights reserved)

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