There are many situations in which people feel a need for affiliation. One situation that causes a greater need for affiliation is during a stressful situation. An example where there was an increase in the need for affiliation among individuals was right after the September 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. This event led to Americans putting their differences aside and coming together. The increase in an individual's need for affiliation allowed individuals responding to the same stressor to come together and find security in one another. Situations that include fear often lead people to want to be together and trigger a need for affiliation.Research done by Schacter (1959) shows that fear that comes from anxiety increases the need for the person to affiliate with others who are going through the same situation or that could help them through the stressful event. The strength of this need changes from one person to the next, there are moments that people just want to be together.
The need for affiliation for an individual can vary over short amounts of time; there are times when individuals wish to be with others and other times to be alone. In one study, completed by Shawn O'Connor and Larne Rosenblood, beepers were distributed to the students. The students were then asked to record, when their beepers went off, whether or not they wanted to be alone or if they wanted to be with others at that particular moment. This study was done to observe how frequently college students were in the presence of others and how frequently they were alone. The next step in this study asked for the students to record whether, at the time their beeper went off, they wanted to be alone or in the company of others. This response that they gave usually reflected which of the two situations they were experiencing the next time their beepers went off. The information retained from this study helped to show the strength of an individual's need for affiliation. By...
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