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Insecurity in Relationships Binds People to Possessions
Date:3/11/2011

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, March 11 (HealthDay News) -- People who attach more value to their possessions may be less secure in their personal relationships than those who put less value on material goods, a new study reports.

Human beings need to feel secure, and a sense of security can come either from material goods or from supportive relationships. If people do not feel loved and accepted by others, the researchers pointed out, the importance of material items rises.

"We conducted two studies, and the basic finding in both is that if you make people feel interpersonally secure, they'll place a lower monetary value on possessions," said study author Margaret Clark, a professor of psychology at Yale.

"I think people consciously know very well that they don't need everything they want to acquire or have. They don't need to be told that. But, they may not be aware of why they do this," she said.

"Humans are social creatures with vulnerabilities. Close relationships affords protections. For examples, infants wouldn't survive without other people. But material possessions also afford protection and security. Humans need food, clothing and shelter to survive. So, it takes a mix of things to make you feel secure. But, if you heighten one source of security, people feel less concerned about the others," she explained.

To confirm this theory, Clark and her colleagues from the University of New Hampshire and the University of Geneva, conducted two studies. The first included 185 people between the ages of 18 and 71; 70 of the volunteers were male.

Participants were randomly assigned to a group that was asked to write a paragraph about a time they felt supported or to a group that was asked to write about a pleasant experience at a restaurant. Then both groups were asked to place a monetary value on the blanket on their bed.

The group primed to feel supported placed an a
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