Assignment: Social Motives in Group Membership Many adults look back and attribute later success to groups they belon

Assignment: Social Motives in Group Membership

Many adults look back and attribute later success to groups they belonged to as children. Boys or girls clubs, sports teams, and churches are common examples of groups that have strong influences on the development of an individual’s character and/or skills. Groups can be formal (e.g., labor unions) or informal (e.g., friends planning a surprise party), yet all groups of which you have been a member leave their fingerprints on how you think, feel, and behave in relation to others. Being reflective about the social motives that bring you to certain groups, and how those memberships impact your life satisfaction, can illuminate the impact of group membership on the human condition.

For this Assignment, think about a significant group membership you currently hold or have held in the past. Consider how social motives might account for your membership in the group. Also consider how the group membership relates to your life satisfaction.

The Assignment (3–4 pages)

Briefly describe a significant group membership you currently hold or have held in the past.
Explain how social motives, including but not limited to the need for belonging, might have influenced your joining and sustaining membership in the group.
Explain how this group membership relates to your life satisfaction.

Support your Application Assignment with specific references to all resources used in its preparation. You are to provide a reference list for all resources, including those in the Learning Resources for this course.

Required Resources

Fiske, S. T., Gilbert, D. T., & Lindzey, G. (Eds.). (2010). Handbook of social psychology (5th ed., Vol. 2). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Chapter 16, “Self and Identity”
Chapter 24, “Affiliation, Acceptance, and Belonging: The Pursuit of Interpersonal Connection”
Baumeister, R. F., & Leary, M. R. (1995). The need to belong: Desire for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation. Psychological Bulletin, 117(3), 497–529.
Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
Mellor, D., Stokes, M., Firth, L., Hayashi, Y., & Cummins, R. (2008). Need for belonging, relationship satisfaction, loneliness, and life satisfaction. Personality and Individual Differences, 45(3), 213–218.
Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

Available online at
Personality and Individual Differences 45 (2008) 213–218
Need for belonging, relationship satisfaction, loneliness,
and life satisfaction
David Mellor a,*, Mark Stokes a, Lucy Firth b, Yoko Hayashi a, Robert Cummins a
School of Psychology, Deakin University, Burwood, Victoria 3125, Australia
Department of Information Systems, University of Melbourne, Parkville 8000, Australia
Received 2 December 2007; received in revised form 18 March 2008; accepted 27 March 2008
Available online 9 May 2008
Loneliness and the need to belong are two subjective states that, on the basis of prior research and theory, would appear to be related
both to one another and to wellbeing. This study explored these relationships with a sample of 436 volunteer participants drawn from the
Australian Unity Wellbeing database. Participants completed a survey that included a measure of satisfaction with personal relationships
embedded in the Personal Wellbeing Index, the UCLA Loneliness scale, a measure of life satisfaction, and the Need to Belong Scale.
While loneliness was weakly related to need to belong, it was strongly associated with the discrepancy between need to belong and satisfaction with personal relationships, which we used to measure unmet need for belonging. People living alone reported a lower need to
belong and less satisfaction with personal relationships than those living with others. However, the discrepancy scores, life satisfaction
scores and loneliness scores did not differ between these groups. Loneliness mediated the relationship between unmet need for belonging
and wellbeing (life satisfaction). These findings support Baumeister and Leary’s ‘‘belongingness hypothesis” and clarify the relationship
between these variables.
Ó 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Loneliness; Need to belong; Personal relationships; Life satisfaction
1. Introduction
As social beings, most humans live in a matrix of relationships that, to a large extent, define their identity (I
am a daughter, wife, mother, student, etc.), and our personality (I am extraverted, friendly, and kind). Moreover,
the importance of such connections transcend cultural differences (for reviews, see Heine, Lehman, Markus, &
Kitayama, 1999; Kitayama & Markus, 1994; Silvera &
Seger, 2004). Given such dependency on relationships with
others, it is not surprising that factors such as belongingness and loneliness are important predictors of psychological health (e.g., Baumeister & Leary, 1995; Ernst &
Cacioppo, 1999; Townsend & McWhirter, 2005). In this
Corresponding author. Tel.: +61 3 9244 3742; fax: +61 3 9244 6858.
E-mail address: (D. Mellor).
0191-8869/$ – see front matter Ó 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
paper, we investigate the relationship between these two
factors and life satisfaction.
1.1. Belongingness
In their defining article on the importance of belongingness to wellbeing, Baumeister and Leary (1995) proposed
the ‘‘belongingness hypothesis”, which suggested that
‘‘human beings have a pervasive drive to form and maintain at least a minimum quantity of lasting, positive, and
significant interpersonal relationships” (p. 497). Failure to
have belongingness needs met may lead to feelings of social
isolation, alienation, and loneliness. Thus, a sense of
belongingness is not only a precursor to social connectedness but also a buffer against loneliness.
In their detailed analysis of the relevant research, these
authors argued that the need for belongingness is more
than the need for social contact. It is the need for positive,
D. Mellor et al. / Personality and Individual Differences 45 (2008) 213–218
and pleasant social contacts within the context of desired
relationships with people other than strangers. That is,
the need for belongingness is satisfied by an interpersonal
bond marked by ‘‘stability, affective concern, and continuation into the foreseeable future” (p. 500). It is this relational context of interactions with other people that is
essential for satisfying the need to belong.
They also propose that, through satiation, people who
are well-enmeshed in social relationships should have less
need to seek and form additional bonds than people who
are socially deprived. As their need for belonging has been
met, and is no longer such a significant drive, they do not
express or display the need for belonging as strongly as
those for whom this need has not been met. Importantly,
however, individuals differ in the strength of their need to
belong. As Kelly (2001) points out, some people with lower
need to belong may be satisfied by few contacts, while others with greater need to belong may need many such contacts. It is the lack of satisfaction with personal
relationships relative to their need to belong that puts the
individual at risk of loneliness.
1.2. Loneliness
Loneliness is characterised by unpleasant feelings that
arise when an individual perceives a discrepancy between
their desired and existing social relationships (Perlman,
2004). It is therefore a subjective experience, is distinct
from the objective condition of aloneness (Rokach, 2004),
and cannot be simply predicted by objective indicators
(de Jong Gierveld & Havens, 2004; Perlman, 2004). An
individual may have a small social network and yet experience no loneliness. Conversely, an individual may have a
large social network yet still feel lonely. This discrepancy
may be subjective in relation to the level of felt intimacy,
and/or objective, in relation to the number of social contacts (de Jong Gierveld & Havens, 2004). Thus, the common consensus is that the subjective and objective
indicators should be separately measured (Andersson,
1998; de Jong Gierveld & Havens, 2004; McWhirter,
1990; Perlman, 2004; Rokach, 2004). While the strongest
predictors of loneliness are subjective, certain objective
indicators, such as living alone, are also strong predictors
of loneliness (Andersson, 1998).
In individualistic Western countries the prevalence of
loneliness is relatively high, with (Andersson (1998) estimating that about one in four people report regularly experiencing loneliness. Researchers have found loneliness to be
implicated in negative aspects of mental health. For example, it has been found related to depression (Eisses et al.,
2004; Nangle, Erdley, Newman, Mason, & Carpenter,
2003), and suicidal ideation (Kidd, 2004; Stravynski &
Boyer, 2001). Likewise, loneliness has been found to be
negatively related to life satisfaction (Goodwin, Cook, &
Yung, 2001; Schumaker, Shea, Monfries, & Groth-Marnat,
1993) and subjective wellbeing (Bramston, Pretty, & Chipuer, 2002; Chipuer, Bramston, & Pretty, 2003). Thus, lit-
erature suggests that higher levels of loneliness are linked
to higher levels of psychological distress and lower levels
of psychological wellness.
1.3. Loneliness and need for belonging
Loneliness and belongingness share the subjective perception of connectedness to others. Thus, a considerable
body of literature has considered aspects of belonging
and loneliness together. For example, Hagerty, Williams,
Coyne, and Early (1996) found both to be related to social
and psychological functioning while Tomaka, Thompson,
and Palacios (2006) found both to be associated with
health outcomes. However, these studies and the many others that have considered constructs related to belongingness have failed to measure the need for belongingness.
This represents an important omission since it may be the
unmet need for belongingness that is a risk factor for loneliness, and that loneliness may then be the risk factor for
reduced wellbeing. If this were to be the case, then the relationship between need for belongingness and wellbeing should be mediated, or at least moderated by
Thus, the major aims of the present study are firstly to
explore whether the most important relationship between
loneliness, belonging and life satisfaction is the degree to
which the need for belongingness is satisfied. That is, rather
than need to belong being the primary variable, as assumed
by previous authors, it is the unsatisfied need for belongingness that is associated with loneliness. We therefore
expect that the relationship between need for belongingness
and loneliness will be weak, and that an examination of the
relationship between loneliness and the degree to which
need for belongingness is unmet will be more informative.
In order to investigate the relationship between unmet
need for belongingness and loneliness, we propose to calculate a difference score between self-reported need to belong
and self-reported reported satisfaction with personal relationships. This estimate of unmet need for belongingness
will allow us to more directly test the ‘belongingness
Our second aim is to explore whether people who live
alone differ from people who live with others in regard to
the variables under investigation. Single person households
now comprises from one third to one half of the total
households in most Western cities (Fleming, 2007). Fleming, using figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics,
reports that in Australia there are now more lone-person
households (1,962,100) than there are households made
up of couples living with children (1,798,400). This social
phenomenon is an important part of our social fabric.
While this lone-person demographic would appear to be
at most obvious risk of social isolation and alienation, we
do not know whether they chose to live alone because they
have a low need for belonging, whether they are satisfied
with their personal relationships, or whether they are
D. Mellor et al. / Personality and Individual Differences 45 (2008) 213–218
an 11-point scale ranging from ‘‘Strongly Agree” (0) to
‘‘Strongly Disagree” (10). Three items are reverse scored,
before a total score is derived by adding the responses.
Higher scores indicate a greater need to belong. Leary
et al. (2006) have reported that the Need to Belong scale
correlates with, but is distinct from, other variables that
involve a desire for social contact, such as extraversion,
sociability, and need for affiliation. Pickett, Gardner, and
Knowles (2004) used the Need to Belong scale in a study
of sensitivity to social cues, and reported that it demonstrated adequate reliability, with Cronbach’s alpha being
0.83. In this study, Cronbach’s alpha was 0.78.
Loneliness was measured using the UCLA Loneliness
Scale (Version 3) (Russell, 1996) which assesses subjective
feelings of loneliness and social isolation. Russell (1996)
reported Cronbach’s alphas ranging from 0.89 to 0.94 for
this 20-item scale across student, nurse, teacher and elderly
samples. An item example is ‘‘How often do you feel close
to people?” Participants responded on an 11-point scale
ranging from ‘‘Never” (0) to ‘‘Always” (10). In this sample
Cronbach’s alpha was 0.95.
Satisfaction with personal relationships was measured
through one of the items in the Personal Wellbeing Index
(International Wellbeing Group, 2006). The item asks
‘How satisfied are you with your personal relationships?
Participants responded on an 11-point scale ranging from
‘‘Completely dissatisfied” (0) to ‘‘Completely satisfied” (10).
Life satisfaction was measured using the single item
‘‘How satisfied are you with your life as a whole?” Participants responded on an 11-point scale ranging from ‘‘Completely dissatisfied” (0) to ‘‘Completely satisfied” (10). This
single item has been commonly used in surveys since being
devised by Andrews and Withey (1976). It has the desirable
characteristic of being both highly personal and abstract,
which is the essence of the subjective wellbeing construct
(Cummins, Eckersley, Pallant, Van Vugt, & Misajon,
2003) and closely related to Core Affect (Davern, Cummins, & Stokes, 2007).
Our final aim is to investigate the relationship between
unmet need for belongingness, loneliness and life satisfaction. In order to do this, we will conduct mediation and
moderation analyses. These will determine whether the
effect of unmet need for belongingness on life satisfaction
is mediated by loneliness.
2. Method
2.1. Participants
The participants were a sample of Australian adults
drawn from the Australian Unity Wellbeing project. Originally, a cross-sectional sample was selected on a national
geographical distributional basis. All in the current survey
were members of that cross-sectional sample who had volunteered for further contact and were enrolled in our longitudinal study. Of the 896 questionnaires mailed out to
these volunteers, 487 completed questionnaires were
returned (54.4% response rate). Of these, 51 surveys had
missing data on at least one of the three variables under
investigation, so these cases were deleted. This left a sample
of 436 participants, of whom 244 were females and 192
males. Their ages ranged from 20 to 86 years, with a mean
age of 59.07 years (SD = 14.00). Seventy nine participants
reported that they lived alone. Table 1 describes the sample
by age, gender and living arrangement.
2.2. Measures
The following measures were contained in a 97-item
questionnaire that constituted the Australian Unity Longitudinal Wellbeing follow-up survey conducted in March
during 2007.
Need to Belong was assessed using the Need to Belong
Scale developed by Schreindorfer and Leary (1996) and
modified by Kelly (1999, cited by Leary, Kelly, Cottrell,
& Schreindorfer, 2006). The modified version consists of
10 items that assess the degree to which respondents desire
to be accepted by other people, seek opportunities to
belong to social groups, and react negatively when they
were shunned, rejected, or ostracized. Item examples
include ‘‘If other people don’t seem to accept me, I don’t
let it bother me”, and ‘‘I need to feel that there are people
I can turn to in times of need”. Participants responded on
3. Results
Data were analysed with SPSS for Windows statistical
package (SPSS Inc., 2003 – SPSS for Windows: Release
12.01, Chicago, IL: SPSS Inc.). Preliminary assumption
testing was conducted prior to all analyses being
Table 1
Age, gender and living arrangements of participants (N = 436)
Living arrangements
Age group
Living alone
Living with others
Living alone
Living with others
D. Mellor et al. / Personality and Individual Differences 45 (2008) 213–218
conducted. Both Need to Belong and Loneliness demonstrated skewness and kurtosis within the acceptable ranges
described by Neter, Kutner, Nachtscheim, and Wasserman
(1996), but satisfaction with relationships was slightly
skewed ( 1.284). However, the data were analysed in their
original form since the sample size was large enough to
reduce the impact of any skewness/kurtosis (Tabachnick
& Fidel, 2001). After the initial screening that deleted those
participants who supplied incomplete data on one of the
three dependent variables (see Participants, above), 436
cases were retained for further analyses.
A difference score between Need to Belong and Satisfaction with Personal Relationships was calculated for each
participant. We used this score to estimate unmet need
for belongingness. The means and standard deviations
for these variables are shown in Table 2 for the entire sample, and also for the two groups, those living alone and
those living with others. Independent samples t-tests indicated people living alone scored lower on Need to Belong
(t(433) = 2.68, p < 0.01), and Satisfaction with Relationships (t(434) = 4.13, p < 0.001). The groups did not differ in Loneliness, Life Satisfaction or discrepancy scores. The life satisfaction mean scores of 75.9 points (live alone) and 76.5 points (live with others) lie just within the normal range for the Australian population (75.8–79.2 points: Cummins et al., 2007). Table 3 shows the relationships between variables. As can be seen, Need to Belong and Loneliness are significantly but weakly positively correlated suggesting that those with a higher need to belong tend to be more lonely, as might be expected. Satisfaction with Personal Relationships is significantly negatively correlated with both need to belong and loneliness. The difference score between Need to Belong and Satisfaction with Personal Relationships is strongly related to loneliness. Table 3 Correlations between need to belong, loneliness, and satisfaction with personal relationships (n = 436) Need to belong Need to Belong Satisfaction with Personal Relationships Loneliness Difference score * Satisfaction with personal relationships 1 0.17* 1 0.28* 0.66* 0.61* 0.86* Loneliness 1 0.62* p < 0.001. As the variables are continuous, the use of a technique like ANOVA is inappropriate (Cohen, Cohen, West, & Aiken, 2003). Variables were centred prior to multiplication (Cohen et al., 2003). A hierarchical regression was undertaken, entering the main effects first (Loneliness, Discrepancy scores). As in ANOVA, the contributions of main effects are assessed first to remove their contribution. Thereafter, the interaction term is assessed to check if it adds anything beyond the main effects themselves. If the interaction adds little, then there is no reason to increase the complexity of the statistical model. The interaction of loneliness and unmet Need to belong was entered at the second step. No significant moderation was detected (see Sobel’s Z=--5.01, p Purchase answer to see full attachment