Have you heard of Adlerian theory? It is a psychological approach developed by Alfred Adler that emphasizes the importance of social interest in an individual’s personality development. In this article, we will explore what social interest means in Adlerian theory and how it impacts an individual’s life.

What Is Social Interest?

Social interest is the core concept of Adlerian theory. It refers to an individual’s innate desire to contribute to the welfare of others and society as a whole. According to Adler, social interest is not only a significant aspect of personality development but also a crucial factor for mental health and well-being.

Adler believed that every person is born with some degree of social interest, but its expression varies from person to person. For some individuals, social interest may manifest as a deep sense of responsibility towards their community, while others may display it through their acts of kindness and compassion towards others.

The Importance of Social Interest

Adler believed that social interest plays a pivotal role in shaping an individual’s personality and behavior. He argued that people who have higher levels of social interest are more likely to develop healthier relationships, achieve success in various domains of life, and experience greater happiness and fulfillment.

On the other hand, individuals with low levels of social interest tend to be more self-centered, isolated, and prone to mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. They may struggle with forming meaningful relationships or finding purpose in life.

Developing Social Interest

Adler believed that social interest can be nurtured and developed through various experiences throughout one’s life. He emphasized the importance of early childhood experiences in shaping an individual’s sense of belongingness towards their family and community.

However, it is never too late to develop social interest. According to Adlerian theory, one can cultivate social interest by engaging in activities that promote empathy, compassion, and altruism towards others. For instance, volunteering for a cause, participating in community activities, and helping others in need can all contribute to the development of social interest.


In conclusion, social interest is a crucial aspect of Adlerian theory that emphasizes the innate desire of individuals to contribute to the welfare of others and society as a whole. It plays a significant role in shaping an individual’s personality, behavior, and overall mental health and well-being. By understanding the importance of social interest and actively working towards developing it, individuals can lead happier, more fulfilling lives while making a positive impact on those around them.