Theories of Affiliation
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This chapter begins by considering Stanley Schachter's findings and interpretation of the relation between anxiety and affiliation. Having found that isolation tended to evoke anxiety, Schachter hypothesized that anxiety would lead to an increased desire to be with others. Schachter suggested five possible explanations: escape, cognitive clarity, direct anxiety reduction, indirect anxiety reduction, and self-evaluation through social comparison. Two notable omissions in these studies are the subject's age as a significant variable affecting the choice of affiliation partner, and the relationship between subjects and their possible affiliation partners. Subject to obtaining Ethics Committee approval, future arousal-affiliation studies might experiment with the procedure of creating a state of physiological arousal and then allowing subjects to wait in a large, empty room, before the anticipated shock or other intervention. Lacking in the former studies is any recognition of the biological, social, cultural and developmental contexts in which affiliation occurs.