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Ontario Society of Adlerian Psychology

Gemeinschaftsgefuhl ~ Advancing Adlerian Psychology in Ontario Through Social Interest, Sense of Belonging, Community Feeling and Equality


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Social Interest in Children

by Charmaine McIntosh | on June 05, 2021

Social Interest is innate with the potential to be developed. Adler believed that healthy individuals have a high social interest. “As Adler modified his view of social interest, it became an essential component of the healthy personality. Crandall (1980) suggests that social interest influences a person’t attention, perception, thinking, and overt behaviours as these related to cooperation, helping, sharing, and contributing” (Ostrovsky, Parr & Gradel, 1992, p. 220).

So the question is, How can we help children to develop social interest; thus, facilitating emotional health?

Social Interest Children

A lack of social interest can cause an individual to experience feelings of loneliness; but, an increased social interest contributes to a sense of belonging. Parents and teachers can provide encouragement, nurturing and be a role model of social interest. If you are a teacher, help your students practice social interest in the classroom such as helping another student. If you are a parent, help your child practice social interest at home like learning responsibility by contributing to chores. If you work with children in any other capacity, promote the practice of social interest. For example, sports, volunteer work, boy scouts and girl guides.

Social interest remains throughout life. It becomes differentiated, limited, or expanded and, in favourable cases, extends not only to family members but to the larger group, to the nation, to all of mankind.” (Ansbacher & Ansbacher, 1956, p. 138).

In today’s society, children continue to face bullying, racism, and discouragement. Social interest can help increase cooperation, confidence, engagement in activities, contribution to society, mutual respect, and a good mental health … it provides individuals with courage. Take a moment to think about how you can help children cultivate social interest.


  1. Ansbacher, H.L. & Ansbacher, R.R. (Eds.). (1956). The individual psychology of Alfred Adler: A systemic presentation in selections from his writings. New York, NY: Harper and Row Publishers.
  2. Ostrovsky, M., Parr, G., & Gradel, A. (1992). Promoting moral development through social interest in children and Individual Psychology, Vol. 48, No. 2., 218-225

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