Models of helping and coping.


  1. Draws a distinction between attribution of responsibility for a problem and attribution of responsibility for a solution. Four general helping models are derived. In the "moral" model, actors are held responsible for both problems and solutions and are believed to need only proper motivation. In the compensatory model, people are responsible only for solutions and are believed to need power. Individuals in the medical model are responsible for neither problems nor solutions and are thought to need treatment. In the enlightenment model, actors are responsible for problems but are unable or unwilling to provide solutions; they need discipline. It is maintained that each set of assumptions has characteristic consequences for the competence, status, and well-being of actors and that the wrong choice of model in a situation will undermine effective helping and coping. Competing models of responsibility in education, psychotherapy, law, and welfare are described, and research on attribution of responsibility is recommended as a way of addressing problems of both theoretical and social significance. (128 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)



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Journal Title

American Psychologist


American Psychological Association

Document Type