Research suggests that touch promotes relationship well-being but has failed to consider motives for touch. We assessed general (Study 1) and daily (Study 2) approach and avoidance motives for touch and tested their precursors and consequences. Controlling for relationship quality and the other motive, greater attachment avoidance predicted lower approach and greater avoidance motives for touch in general but did not predict motives in daily life. Greater attachment anxiety simultaneously predicted greater approach and avoidance motives for touch in both studies suggesting anxiously attached people have ambivalent motives for touch. Critically, one’s own and one’s partner’s approach motives for touch predicted greater daily relationship well-being, whereas own and partner avoidance motives predicted poorer daily relationship well-being. We observed indirect effects linking attachment insecurity to relationship well-being through daily motives for touch. These results underscore the importance of attending to touch motives in future work, including future intervention work.
- Approach-avoidance motives
- close relationships
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science