Americans Yearn for Self Respect

EUGENE, Ore., Sept. 28 (UPI) — U.S. adults increasingly say they want self-respect but the need for security and a sense of belonging have declined during the past 20 years, researchers find.

Lynn R. Kahle of the University of Oregon’s Lundquist College of Business says 21.1 percent of all respondents in 1976 ranked self-respect as their top desire but that figure rose to 28.8 percent in 2007 — followed by “warm relationships with others,” which rose from 16.2 percent to 20.9 percent, and “fun-enjoyment-excitement,” which more than doubled as a top choice, from 4.5 percent to 9.3 percent.


The study, published in the Journal of Advertising Research, finds security was the top pick of 20.6 of respondents in 1976, but in 2007, but it dropped to 12.4 percent.

The findings can be useful in developing advertising campaigns, Kahle says.

“Research on advertising effectiveness has shown that advertisements that connect to people’s core values are more effective than ones that don’t,” Kahle says in a statement.

Lead author Eda Gurel-Atay, a doctoral student working with Kahle, says security has been decreasing a lot in importance.

“We found this surprising because people were talking about security all the time, such as in relationship to Sept. 11, 2001, and economic issues as well as Hurricane Katrina,” Gurel-Atay says in a statement. “We found that people want respect for themselves and they want to be important to other people.”

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