What Is Need for Affiliation in Social Psychology?


Jane Flores

Affiliation is a concept that has been studied extensively in social psychology. It refers to the desire to establish and maintain social relationships with others.

This need for affiliation can manifest in a variety of ways, from seeking out new friendships to maintaining existing ones. In this article, we’ll explore why the need for affiliation exists and how it impacts our behavior.

Why Do We Have a Need for Affiliation?

The need for affiliation is a fundamental aspect of human nature. From an evolutionary perspective, humans are social animals who have historically relied on group cooperation for survival. This reliance on others has led to the development of an innate desire for social interaction.

In addition to its evolutionary roots, the need for affiliation is also influenced by individual differences in personality and life experiences. For example, individuals who have experienced rejection or social isolation may be more motivated to seek out social connections as a means of fulfilling their need for affiliation.

How Does Affiliation Impact Our Behavior?

The need for affiliation can impact our behavior in several ways. One of the most obvious is that it can drive us to seek out social interactions. We may engage in activities such as joining clubs, attending parties, or simply spending time with friends and family.

In addition to driving us towards social interactions, the need for affiliation can also impact our behavior in other ways. For example, it can influence our attitudes towards others. Research has shown that individuals who have a high need for affiliation tend to be more accepting of others and more likely to perceive them positively.

The Role of Social Support

One important aspect of the need for affiliation is its relationship with social support. Social support refers to the resources that individuals receive from their social networks, such as emotional support or practical assistance.

Research has consistently shown that individuals who have strong social support networks are better able to cope with stress and are less likely to experience negative health outcomes. Thus, the need for affiliation can play an important role in promoting overall health and well-being.

The Dark Side of Affiliation

While the need for affiliation can have positive impacts on our behavior and well-being, it can also have negative consequences. For example, individuals who are highly motivated by their need for affiliation may be more susceptible to peer pressure and conformity.

Additionally, the desire for social interaction can sometimes lead individuals to engage in risky behaviors or become involved with groups that promote unhealthy or illegal activities. Thus, it’s important to recognize that the need for affiliation is a complex phenomenon that can have both positive and negative effects.


In conclusion, the need for affiliation is a fundamental aspect of human nature that has far-reaching implications for our behavior and well-being. By understanding this concept and its various influences, we can gain insight into why we seek out social interactions and how they impact our lives. Whether we are seeking emotional support or simply enjoying time with friends, our need for affiliation plays a significant role in shaping who we are as individuals.