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Humans are social beings. Theoretical accounts of human development and well-being assign high importance to social connectedness, and empirical studies provide compelling evidence of the benefits of social connectedness to well-being. It is therefore not surprising that efforts to elicit social support are typically viewed as normal, adaptive, and healthy. In certain instances, however, efforts to elicit social support can paradoxically have a detrimental effect on social connectedness and increase the risk for negative mental health outcomes such as depression and anxiety.

One such instance is labeled excessive reassurance seeking (ERS). ERS refers to excessively seeking assurances from others that one is lovable, worthy, and safe, and persisting in the seeking even after such assurances have been provided. Instead of enhancing social connectedness, ERS leads to ...

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