Hugging It Out To Combat Conflict

05 October, 2018, 23:04 | Author: Kara Nash
  • Science Says You Should Embrace Hugging

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.

For the study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers interviewed more than 400 adults every night for two weeks. It's also pretty reassuring the person you're sharing a hug with doesn't hate you. The gesture seemed to increase positive feelings and reduce negative ones on days when people experienced relationship problems, the study found. At the start of the study, each person underwent a physical exam and answered questions regarding their health and their social network.

Get the latest health and science news, plus: burning questions and expert tips. Receiving a hug on the day of a conflict was associated with smaller increases in negative emotions and smaller decreases in positive, effects of hugs lingered as subjects reported continued attenuation of negative moods the next day. Also like contact with relatives or friends were able to raise the mood and on the day following conflict.

'Conflicts were independently associated with greater concurrent negative affect and lesser concurrent positive affect, though not with next day negative or positive affect.

It stands to reason that social support would make somebody feel better in the throes of a stressful situation, but Murphy says there's conflicting evidence in this area.


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.

Those who hugged the person they'd fought with were more likely to feel positive emotions and less likely to feel negative emotions after the row.

A 2015 Carnegie Mellon study found that those who were hugged more had a lower risk of catching colds after being exposed to the virus, Murphy noted. The idea was to study the effects of physical touch in a generalized frame, since most studies have largely focused on the role of hugs in romantic relationships.

"Hugs, at least among "close others", might be a simple, straightforward, effective way to show support to someone you care about who is experiencing conflict with a relationship in their life", Murphy said.

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