Matching Items (4)

155596-Thumbnail Image.png

The influence of cuddling on relational health for cohabitating couples

Description

Affection represents a positive and often intimate psychological state (Floyd & Morman, 1998) that is communicated through verbal, nonverbal, and social supportive behaviors. A formidable research literature indicates that receiving

Affection represents a positive and often intimate psychological state (Floyd & Morman, 1998) that is communicated through verbal, nonverbal, and social supportive behaviors. A formidable research literature indicates that receiving and expressing affection significantly benefits health. One form of affection that may produce these benefits is cuddling. Cuddling includes intimate, physical, and loving whole-body contact that does not necessarily include sexual activity and tends to be reserved for very intimate relationships. Working from affectionate exchange theory (Floyd, 2001), this study’s purpose is to examine the effects of cuddling on relational health for individuals living with their spouse. To test a causal relationship between cuddling and relational health, a four-week experiment was conducted. Eighty adults were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: (1) a treatment condition in which individuals were instructed to increase cuddling behaviors with their spouse, (2) a comparison condition in which individuals were instructed to increase shared mealtime with their spouse, or (3) a control condition in which individuals were instructed to not change their behavior. Individuals in the treatment condition were predicted to experience significant improvements in relational health as outlined in the investment model (i.e., relational satisfaction, investment, quality of alternatives, and commitment) to a greater extent than individuals in the comparison or control conditions. A research question explored whether individuals in the comparison condition differed from those in the control condition. Planned contrasts were conducted to test the hypotheses. Results revealed that individuals in the treatment condition reported more relationship satisfaction and commitment and less quality of alternatives than individuals in the comparison and control conditions. Experimental conditions did not differ on reports of investment. Finally, individuals in the comparison and control conditions did not differ on any of the relational health markers. These findings support affection exchange theory and contribute to a growing literature identifying the benefits of affectionate communication. Moreover, the methodology and results of this study provide compelling evidence for a causal relationship between cuddling and satisfaction and commitment for relatively satisfied couples.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2017

155355-Thumbnail Image.png

Spousal touch during sleep: better sleep unless you're anxiously attached?

Description

Affiliative touch, such as physical affection between relationship partners, activates neural systems associated with reward, relaxation, and attachment. Co-sleeping is a common practice among romantic partners, and the social context

Affiliative touch, such as physical affection between relationship partners, activates neural systems associated with reward, relaxation, and attachment. Co-sleeping is a common practice among romantic partners, and the social context of sleep is linked to well-being. The effect of touch during sleep, however, remains largely untested. As a first study, 210 married couples were asked how much they generally touched during sleep and how important it was for them to touch during sleep. I hypothesized that perceptions of more spousal touch during sleep, as well as greater importance placed on that touch, would be associated with better quality of sleep. Given the strong links between touch and attachment, and previous findings of poor sleep associated with attachment anxiety, these effects were expected to be greatest among spouses higher in attachment anxiety (who might benefit most from a sense of security arising from touch). Separate regression analyses were run for husbands and wives, controlling for affective symptoms of depression (which were significant predictors of poor sleep for both spouses). For both spouses, higher reports of amount and importance of touch during sleep predicted better quality of sleep. For wives, the predicted interaction was significant, but in the opposite direction: Reported amount and importance of spousal touch during sleep was positively related to sleep quality only among those with lower attachment anxiety, whereas it was unrelated among those with higher attachment anxiety. Higher attachment anxiety also was related to worse sleep among wives, but not husbands. It may be the case that wives who are lowest in attachment anxiety may feel more comfortable when being touched by their partners. As a result, they may touch more often, place more importance on touch, and be more likely to experience rewards of touch such as better sleep quality. The findings lend support to the idea that social touch can serve a regulatory function, even during sleep.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2017

156350-Thumbnail Image.png

Repercussions of Sexual and Physical Trauma: The Impact of Lingering Negative Attitudes about Touch

Description

Humans are social beings, which means interpersonal relationships are important contributors to our psychological health. Our health and behavior is manifested through a dynamic cycle of interacting factors: environmental, personal,

Humans are social beings, which means interpersonal relationships are important contributors to our psychological health. Our health and behavior is manifested through a dynamic cycle of interacting factors: environmental, personal, and behavioral. Contributing to this interaction, interpersonal relationships provide benefits such as increased social support and decreased loneliness. The care and attention of relationship partners are communicated in multiple ways, one of which is interpersonal touch. Although touch can communicate positive feelings and support, it can also be used negatively in certain contexts. Unwanted or forced touch occurs when an individual experiences sexual or physical trauma. Experiencing this type of trauma often results in negative psychological consequences. Exactly how sexual or physical trauma—both of which involve unwanted touch—might influence an individual’s attitudes towards touch is important to explore. If an individual feels negatively about interpersonal touch due to previous experience of trauma, this might negatively influence the amount of current touch with a partner, and also the survivor’s psychological well-being.

In the current study, I proposed that previous occurrence of sexual or physical trauma would predict both decreased frequency of touch in a current intimate relationship and poorer individual well-being, and that these relations would be explained by negative touch attitudes. Results supported these hypotheses, suggesting that lingering negative touch attitudes following trauma could be an underlying mechanism affecting social and individual functioning. As seen in our model, these attitudes fully mediated the effects between previous sexual or physical trauma and individual well-being, as well as frequency of touch. This understanding can help provide further insight into the repercussions of trauma and the underlying mechanisms attributing to continued negative effects.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2018

153615-Thumbnail Image.png

The relationship of attitudes about touch with depressive symptoms among women who report abuse

Description

Touch appears to be an important component for understanding psychological and emotional well-being, as well as the formation and maintenance of interpersonal relationships later in life. While research about touch

Touch appears to be an important component for understanding psychological and emotional well-being, as well as the formation and maintenance of interpersonal relationships later in life. While research about touch in relation to these topics is gaining momentum, there is still little evidence on the specific effects and processes that take place when touch is negative or harmful. The current study examined how women who have experienced physical or sexual abuse perceive touch in the context of interpersonal relations and in turn, how these experiences, perceptions and attitudes are related to depressive symptoms. Taking into consideration the significance of interpersonal touch, I speculated that 1) attitudes towards touch would be more negative among women who reported physical or sexual abuse than among women who did not; 2) among women who reported past abuse, increased abuse severity would predict increased current depressive symptoms; and 3) among women who reported past abuse, current attitudes towards touch would mediate the relationship between abuse severity and depressive symptoms. As predicted, results indicated that women who reported physical or sexual abuse had less positive attitudes towards touch than women who did not report any abuse. Echoing prior research, reports of childhood and adult abuse predicted increased depressive symptoms. Finally, for women who reported childhood abuse, Discomfort with Social Touch was a significant partial mediator of depressive symptoms, whereas for women who reported adult abuse, both Desire for More Partner Touch and Discomfort with Social Touch were significant partial mediators of depressive symptoms. Results suggested that negative attitudes towards general social touch, in particular, may play a strong role in mediating depressive symptoms among women who reported abuse.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015