Stress and affiliation: A utility theory

Yacov Rofé

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


Argues that available affiliation theories are unable to explain apparent inconsistencies among studies of affiliation tendencies during stressful situations. A new theory-the utility affiliation theory- is suggested to integrate these data into 1 theoretical framework. The basic assumption of the theory is that the strength of the affiliation tendency is a function of the extent of perceived benefit and damage that may be caused by being with others. The benefit-damage perception may be affected by 3 basic variables: the characteristics of the stressful situations, the individual, and the potential affiliates. Using the concepts suggested in the utility theory, the affiliation studies are categorized and reinterpreted. A summary of 3 studies conducted by the author and I. Lewin in 1983 (in press) to examine the validity of this theory is provided. The studies focused on affiliation in an unavoidable stress situation, immediate vs delayed laboratory stress, and affiliation in individuals with severe illness. (75 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-250
Number of pages16
JournalPsychological Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1984


  • utility affiliation theory, explanation for inconsistencies in studies on effects of stress on affiliation tendencies


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