Close physical contact is a defining feature of intimate relationships across the lifespan and occurs in nearly all kinds of close relationships. However, there are important individual differences in the extent to which people feel comfortable engaging in intimate interactions. In two samples, attachment avoidance was associated with less positive feelings toward cuddling in adult romantic relationships (Sample 1) and parent-child relationships (Sample 2); attachment anxiety was largely unrelated to feelings about cuddling across relationships. Moreover, the magnitude of the associations between attachment avoidance and feelings about cuddling was similar across relationship types. The current study highlights the similarities in people's use of intimate touch across relationships, namely to communicate affection, trust, and responsiveness to their loved ones. Yet we also identified important attachment-related differences in feelings about intimate touch. The current findings suggest several new directions for future research on the benefits of interpersonal touch.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Psychology