Nonconformist and Deprivation of Belongingness

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Being a nonconformist is encouraged by certain people. Although being an individual may sound like a good idea there are consequences that come with it just like anything else. One consequence is that the nonconformist would be thought of as different and not accepted by others. Deprivation of belongingness can lead to a variety of affiliative behaviors and can have undesirable and unhealthy effects on adjustments, happiness, and health. The loss of social bonds causes emotional and mental distress, which is strong enough to prove that belongingness is necessary for every human. 

Research proves that people who do not have supportive relationships with peers or any individuals experience stress in a large degree. Maintaining strong relationships is necessary because having the assurance that other people re available for support and assistance can enhance coping and reduce stress. (Cohen and Wills, 1985) mentions that being a part of a supportive group can reduce stress even if other members do not provide with emotional assistance. The feeling of being in a group and the feeling of being accepted by peers proves that the need to belong and conformity go hand in hand. Nonconformity and not being able to belong can have an impact on the mental health too. However, the effects of belongingness on mental illness is parallel to that of physical illness. 

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Rejected children have a higher chance of psychopathology than other children (Bhatti, Derezotes, Kim and Specht, 1989). Children who lack attention from caregivers show emotional and mental pathologies (Harlow and Suomi, 1971). People form social bonds readily, have anything in common and share common (sometimes even unpleasant) experiences, or who are exposed to each other frequently tend to form friendships or other attachments. Belongingness is a need and deficits in belongingness can lead to variety of ill effects such as psychological and physical health problems. These problems are common with people who lack attachments and acceptance. 

Problems that might initially seem unrelated to social interactions and relationships are found to have social deprivation or failed belongingness as the base cause. One of the major causes of eating disorder and depression were found as not being able to form attachments with other people. Another example on the importance of belonging in the society and maintaining good relationships with the peers was explained by a sociologist Emile Durkheim. Durkheim highlighted that one of the major causes of suicide could be lack of belongingness and acceptance in the society. People who are well settled, appreciated and maintain good relations are less likely to kill themselves. 

However, people who lack peer group, interactions and support go through depression and therefore commit suicide. Research on social support is relevant to belongingness hypothesis because social support is also based on acceptance of peers, positive interactions, and conformity. The benefits of confirming and relating to peers and groups is that individuals can cope with stressful events and have a feeling of backup and support. Social isolation is related to many patterns of unhappiness, and unhappiness leads to many unexpected negative outcomes. 

The extensive trait of extraversion seems to be strongly related with conformity. Individuals who are extroverts possess an ability to convince others and easily form groups. It also includes factors such as sociability, social involvement and warmth that enhances the tendency to form and maintain ties. A research by Hotard, Mcfatter, McWhirter and Stegall found that introverts who have good social networks and communications are as fortunate as the extroverts.   

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