Wu said the results suggest that people are losing some of their trust in others, especially after several old people recently claimed that a person who had tried to help them up after they had fallen was in fact to blame in the accident.
"If I see an elderly person who has been injured on the road, I probably will wait for a witness to first come along and then persuade others to help me get that person up, instead of doing it by myself," said Wu Liang, a 26-year-old Shanghai resident.
The survey also found that 64.8 percent of the respondents thought that one should offer help to an elderly person who has been in an accident and only 8 percent of them suggested that they would not lend such a person a hand.
Wu said many young people will still offer help to an elderly person who has been in an accident, although, as a result of the recent accusations made against the providers of such assistance, more of them will now hesitate before doing so.
The public's lack of a sense of trust has been made obvious by recent media stories that have looked at the hesitation people feel before come to someone else's aid, said Xie Jing, a communications professor at Fudan University.Xie said the media could help to ensure that those who offer assistance to the elderly are not later made to blame for the accidents that they were merely responding to.