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The Need to Belong: Study Guide, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 640

Essay

The authors define the Belongingness Hypothesis as “human beings having a pervasive drive to form and maintain at least a minimum quantity of lasting, positive, significant, interpersonal relationships” (497). This drive to belong satisfies two criteria, which include the “need for frequent, affectively pleasant interactions with a few other people,” and that “these interactions must take place in the context of a temporally stable and enduing framework of affective concern for each other’s welfare” (497).

The Need to Belong is innate among humans, and the authors describe evolutionary basis, competition for limited resources, relationships, and goal-directed activity as factors that impact belonging. This means that the desire to maintain social bonds have survival and reproductive benefits, forming groups under conditions of scarcity for shared resources, guiding human beings into social groups and lasting relationships for pleasure and positive affect, and forming these relationships as a means to meeting goals (499-500).

There are two main features of the Need to Belong. First, “people need frequent and personal contacts or interactions with other people” (500). These interactions should be positive and conflict-free. Second, people need to perceive that the interpersonal relationship s stable, therefore has a foreseeable future. This gives context for interactions and satisfied the need for bonding (500).

The author’s empirical findings of the factors impacting the nature of the Need to Belong are as follows:

  1. Forming Social Bonds- Social bonds form easily and relationships emerge naturally. However, people tend to invest great time and effort into fostering supportive relationships to form strong bonds (502).
  2. Not Breaking Bonds: People should be reluctant to break bonds. Evidence suggests that people strongly resist dissolution of social bonds, in which often goes well beyond rational considerations (502-503).
  3. : Evidence suggests that people devote considerable cognitive processing to interpersonal interactions. The concerns with belongingness shapes thought, as well as shapes self and relationships (503-505).
  4. Emotion: Real changes in emotional state, both positive and negative, are affected by increases in belongingness. Positive affects were found in the formation of social bonds, whereas negative affects were found in threats to social attachments and dissolution in bonds. Findings suggest that some of the strongest emotional responses that people experience are linked to belongingness (505-508).
  5. Consequences of Deprivation: Deprivation of social bonds and belongingness has negative outcomes in an individual, such as health, happiness and adjustment issues. Studies and research conclude that deprivation leads to severe pathological consequences (509-511).
  6. Partial Deprivation and Relatedness without Interaction: Broad evidence suggests that relationships with infrequent and impartial relationship interactions result in forming relationships without value and lacking desirability. This means that individuals may experience dissatisfying relationships without any type of real and positive social bond (511-513).
  7. Satiation, Substitution, Innateness: Findings show that people need relatedness in their social interaction in order to feel positive and strong bonds. The findings also show that people seek a limited number of relationships that fit their needs and provide returns (514-517).
  8. Innateness, Universality and Evolutionary Perspectives: Research has suggested (but not concluded) that evolution and the need to belong may be innate in human nature and biological inheritance. It also suggests that helping others is increased by social bonds and the need for social equity and acceptance (518-519).

After reading this article, and reflecting upon what was presented by the authors, I feel that the Need to Belong is a fundamental motivation. I believe this because of the proven consequences of those who are shut off from positive and healthy relationships, or those who become involved in unhealthy and psychologically damaging relationships. There are real, evident damages that come from having limited, unequal or unhealthy social bonds with others. People feel safe in social groups, even more so if those groups that reflect shared experiences or opinions. It was also suggested in the research that human beings have an innate, biological drive to form relationships and social bonds, as it provides cognitive development in an evolutionary perspective.

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