Men: Social Bonding & Purpose in Life (Part II)

In a previous blog post, we looked at the attachment domain of social bonding and how it affects men. Attachment is viewed on an affect level and descriptive of emotional closeness to peers, friends, and family. In this post, we will discuss commitment. James Chriss (2007) views commitment as cognitive and descriptive of the rational cost for future goals.

Photo courtesy of Glauber Torquato

Social Bonding: A Review.

It operates in four elements, or four domains, as I would prefer to call them. A domain implies a space which one inhabits, while an element seems to be something more external and abstract.

These domains are: Attachment, Commitment, Involvement, and Beliefs.

I will once again go over these domains in forthcoming blog posts, but will seek to tie them into the importance of fatherhood and masculinity in society.


In The Functions of the Social Bond, James J. Chriss (2007), cites commitment as a function of goal attainment (p. 4). That is to say, the higher the level of commitment one has, the more likely one is to weigh the costs of deviation from a goal.

To What Are Young Men Committing Themselves?

As with attachment, it is difficult to tell. According to Statista, marriage rates fell from 9.8 per 1,000 people in 1990 to 6.9 per 1,000 in 2017. Throughout the United States, views on marriage is varied. Perhaps the decline in marriage rates speaks to a lack of commitment.

If men are committing themselves to marriage and family less, does it suggest they are committing themselves elsewhere? Are they isolated and purposelessly floating around society?

The Benefits of Commitment.

Commitment creates and necessitates a course of action. According to Founding Director of UC Davis Integrative Medicine Rosane Oliveira, success in any domain of life is defined by level of commitment.

In criminology, the commitment domain of social bonding suggests that on a cognitive level, one will make calculations of the cost of law breaking for future goals. Therefore, a halfhearted criminal will not be a very successful criminal.

The important part of that equation? Goals.

To set a goal is to commit to something, and commitment dictates a course of action. Positive goals will ideally produce positively charged commitments, which will create positive behavior changes.

The Role of Church and Faith.

The church could potentially utilize this social equation to tap into the psyche of young men by working with them to set specific goals for their lives.

These goals should build up to a vision; a grand narrative that encompasses all the goals that have been set.

Our life development plan is created to do just that.

A young man with a goal might be hard to stop, but a young man with a vision can be revolutionary.

Chriss, James J., “The Functions of the Social Bond” (2007). Sociology & Criminology Faculty Publications. 25.