Belonging is related to a sense of purpose. When people feel like they don’t belong or that their relationships aren’t supporting them, they consistently have a lower sense of purpose and direction in life, says lead author Todd Chan, a doctoral student in the psychology department at the University of Michigan.

Chan and colleagues say that having a belief system that adequately “substitutes” for some of the functions of human relationships, like having a God that values and supports them, may allow socially disconnected people to restore some of this purpose.

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