December 10, 2018

Hugs Protect against Conflict-Related Psychological Distress | Psychology

05 October 2018, 11:06 | Silvia Roy

A new study finds that hugs can help people feel better when they experience conflict

A new study finds that hugs can help people feel better when they experience conflict

Receiving a hug on the day of conflict was associated with improved concurrent negative and positive affect and improved next day negative affect compared to days when conflict occurred but no hug was received.

In plainer English, hugging helped people feel less poorly after some kind of conflict or negative event during their day.

"While this research is still in its preliminary stages, our study suggests that consensual hugs might be a simple yet effective way to provide support to both women and men enduring relationship conflict", Murphy added.

"Results indicated that there was an interaction between hug receipt and conflict exposure such that receiving a hug was associated with a smaller conflict-related decrease in positive affect and a smaller conflict-related increase in negative affect when assessed concurrently", the study reads.

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Yes it seems a cuddle seemed to increase positive feelings and reduce negative ones on days when people experienced relationship problems.

In the new study, Carnegie Mellon University researchers Michael Murphy and his colleagues from the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University focused on hugs. Research on touch is limited due to previous studies focusing largely on roles of touch in romantic relationships.

The researchers found no difference in the stress-reducing effects of hugs in women and men. The nature of the relationship between the giver and the receiver of a hug, the researchers said, should be explored in more detail.

The study of 400 adults found the source of the hug didn't matter, as long as someone in their lives reached out.

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"It's awesome to see what hugs can do, so I wasn't surprised by the study's findings in the least", said Stratyner. A hug transcends anger and anguish and loss.

The results are correlational, so more research is required in order to investigate the link between hugs and improved psychological function, and to uncover a possible mechanism.

Of course, some people don't like to be hugged, and even for touchy-feely folks, responses likely vary depending on who the hug comes from.

"They have to have the quality of genuineness", Stratyner noted.

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