A Sense of Security: Touch Promotes State Attachment Security

Brittany K. Jakubiak, Brooke C. Feeney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Adults can be made to experience state attachment security (e.g., feel calm, cared for, and trusting) when they recall experiences, in which others were accepting and responsive. In two experiments, we tested whether receiving affectionate touch in the context of a close relationship naturally promotes state attachment security. As hypothesized, participants who imagined receiving touch had greater accessibility of secure words on a memory task (Experiment 1) and participants who physically received touch from their romantic partners self-reported greater state security (Experiment 2) than participants who did not receive touch. Neither the relationship context (romantic partner or close friend) nor the attribution for the touch moderated touch’s effect on state security. However, consistent with predictions, touch promoted security more for individuals low in avoidant attachment than highly avoidant individuals. By promoting state security, touch may facilitate positive relational behaviors and cognitions to improve and protect adult relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)745-753
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • attachment
  • communication
  • relationships
  • security
  • touch

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'A Sense of Security: Touch Promotes State Attachment Security'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this