Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Psychol Sci. 2015 Feb;26(2):135-47. doi: 10.1177/0956797614559284. Epub 2014 Dec 19.

Does hugging provide stress-buffering social support? A study of susceptibility to upper respiratory infection and illness.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychology, Carnegie Mellon University scohen@cmu.edu.
  • 2Department of Psychology, Carnegie Mellon University.
  • 3Department of Pediatrics, University of Virginia Health Sciences Center.
  • 4Department of Otolaryngology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Abstract

Perceived social support has been hypothesized to protect against the pathogenic effects of stress. How such protection might be conferred, however, is not well understood. Using a sample of 404 healthy adults, we examined the roles of perceived social support and received hugs in buffering against interpersonal stress-induced susceptibility to infectious disease. Perceived support was assessed by questionnaire, and daily interpersonal conflict and receipt of hugs were assessed by telephone interviews on 14 consecutive evenings. Subsequently, participants were exposed to a virus that causes a common cold and were monitored in quarantine to assess infection and illness signs. Perceived support protected against the rise in infection risk associated with increasing frequency of conflict. A similar stress-buffering effect emerged for hugging, which explained 32% of the attenuating effect of support. Among infected participants, greater perceived support and more-frequent hugs each predicted less-severe illness signs. These data suggest that hugging may effectively convey social support.

© The Author(s) 2014.

KEYWORDS:

health; interpersonal interaction; open data; psychological stress; social support; stress buffering; touch

PMID:
25526910
[PubMed - in process]
PMCID:
PMC4323947
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk