The need to belong: a deep dive into the origins, implications, and future of a foundational construct

Kelly-Ann Allen, De Leon L. Gray, Roy F. Baumeister, Mark R. Leary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOtherpeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


The need to belong in human motivation is relevant for all academic disciplines that study human behavior, with immense importance to educational psychology. The presence of belonging, specifically school belonging, has powerful long- and short-term implications for students’ positive psychological and academic outcomes. This article presents a brief review of belonging research with specific relevance to educational psychology. Following this is an interview with Emeritus Professors Roy Baumeister and Mark Leary, foundational pioneers in belonging research which reflects upon their influential 1995 paper, “The need to belong: Desire for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation,” to explore the value and relevance of belonging for understanding human behavior and promoting well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1133-1156
Number of pages24
JournalEducational Psychology Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • Belonging; Sense of belonging; Motivation
  • Connection
  • Interpersonal relationships
  • Need to belong

Cite this