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Affiliation Tendencies on the Eve of the Iraqi War: A Utility Theory Perspective

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Abstract

Affiliation tendencies among 212 Israeli children and their parents were examined in January to March 2003, when the prospect for an Iraqi attack against Israel was high. Based on utility theory (Rofé, 1984), it was hypothesized that Israeli citizens would prefer the company of less anxious others, rather than those with similar and higher levels of anxiety. Additionally, it was expected that subjects would be less inclined to talk about war-related issues since their need for cognitive clarity was already satisfied by the mass media. This study also compared the affiliation and discussion tendencies of children and adults. Results were consistent with utility theory and demonstrated its theoretical value in accounting for affiliation tendencies in stressful situations.

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