Interpersonal touch as a resource to facilitate positive personal and relational outcomes during stress discussions

Brittany Jakubiak, Brooke C. Feeney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This investigation examined the extent to which receiving touch during discussions of stressors predicts subsequent personal and relational well-being. Married couples were unobtrusively videotaped as couple-members took turns discussing their personal stressors with one another. We assessed the degree to which couple-members received touch from their spouses during the discussions and investigated whether touch receipt predicted beneficial personal and relational outcomes after the discussions. Results indicated that disclosers who received greater (higher frequency and higher intensity) touch while they discussed their stressors perceived that they were more able to overcome their stressors, experienced greater decreases in self-reported stress, reported greater increases in self-esteem, and viewed their partners more positively than disclosers who received less touch. Additionally, helpers (spouses in the listening role) who received greater touch during their partner’s stressor discussion also viewed their partners more positively than helpers who received less touch. Implications and potential future directions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

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Touch
helper
resources
spouse
Spouses
married couple
self-esteem
well-being
Self Concept

Keywords

  • Close relationships
  • coping
  • interpersonal communication
  • interpersonal relationships
  • social support
  • stress
  • touch

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

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abstract = "This investigation examined the extent to which receiving touch during discussions of stressors predicts subsequent personal and relational well-being. Married couples were unobtrusively videotaped as couple-members took turns discussing their personal stressors with one another. We assessed the degree to which couple-members received touch from their spouses during the discussions and investigated whether touch receipt predicted beneficial personal and relational outcomes after the discussions. Results indicated that disclosers who received greater (higher frequency and higher intensity) touch while they discussed their stressors perceived that they were more able to overcome their stressors, experienced greater decreases in self-reported stress, reported greater increases in self-esteem, and viewed their partners more positively than disclosers who received less touch. Additionally, helpers (spouses in the listening role) who received greater touch during their partner’s stressor discussion also viewed their partners more positively than helpers who received less touch. Implications and potential future directions are discussed.",
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