Situational influences on the desirability of different objects of affiliation

Shaul Fox

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The desire to affilitate was examined as a function of two variables: situational context and the type of potential companion. Data were collected via four questionnaires composed of 48 identical items. Each item described a specific situation related to one of four situational clusters previously extracted by factor analytic method (Fox, 1980) and reconfirmed in this study. Each questionnaire examined the desirability of a particular type of companion in various situations (being alone, or with intimates, acquaintances, or strangers). The subjects consisted of 900 male Israeli high school students, 17-19 years of age, each of whom responded to two out of the four questionnaires. The situational factor had the decisive effect on the affiliative preferences. There was a general desire for companionship in pleasant as well as threatening situations, whereas solitude was preferred when concentration was necessary or in periods of unpleasant moods. Across situational categories, there was a relatively less marked preference for the company of intimates over that of acquaintances and strangers, who appear to be equally desirable objects of affiliation. The interaction between situational and companion factors was minimal, in contrast to hypothesis. The results are illuminated in the context of utility affiliation theory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-33
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1985


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