The relentless pursuit of acceptance and belonging

Book Section

A great deal of human behavior is motivated by the desire for acceptance and belonging, and a high proportion of people's emotional reactions stems from concerns with actual or potential social rejection. The pervasive quest for acceptance can be seen in the attention and effort people devote to their physical appearance, their efforts to be liked, achievement-related behaviors, conformity, accumulating resources that others need, and generally being the sort of person with whom others want to have social connections. Depending on the context, concerns with social acceptance are typically accompanied by emotions such as social anxiety, embarrassment, jealousy, hurt feelings, and guilt, as well as lowered self-esteem. In addition, people who feel inadequately valued and accepted may behave in ways to increase acceptance, aggress against those who rejected them, distance themselves from other people, and/or engage in symbolic efforts to increase their subjective sense of being accepted. Concerns with acceptance and belonging exert a pervasive, ongoing effect on human thought, behavior, and emotion.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Leary, MR; Gabriel, S

Published Date

  • January 1, 2022

Volume / Issue

  • 9 /

Book Title

  • Advances in Motivation Science

Start / End Page

  • 135 - 178

International Standard Book Number 13 (ISBN-13)

  • 9780323990868

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/bs.adms.2021.12.001

Citation Source

  • Scopus