The dividend payers in the S&P 500 Index outperformed the non-payers in October 2008 on an average return basis. The payers' return equaled -20.39% versus the non-payers' return of -21.87%. However, the average return for both payers and non payers came in worse than the Index weighted return of -16.80%. As the below table details, this was the case for the year to date and 12-month periods as well.
Source: Standard & Poor's