Affiliative and prosocial motives and emotions in mental health.
This paper argues that studies of mental health and wellbeing can be contextualized within an evolutionary approach that highlights the coregulating processes of emotions and motives. In particular, it suggests that, although many mental health symptoms are commonly linked to threat processing, attention also needs to be directed to the major regulators of threat processing, ie, prosocial and affiliative interactions with self and others. Given that human sociality has been a central driver for a whole range of human adaptations, a better understanding of the effects of prosocial interactions on health is required, and should be integrated into psychiatric formulations and interventions. Insight into the coregulating processes of motives and emotions, especially prosocial ones, offers improved ways of understanding mental health difficulties and their prevention and relief.