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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe current study asked a sample (N = 33) of healthy young adults to report their daily hugging behaviors over a 14-day period. At the beginning and end of this 14-day period, each participant provided a saliva sample which was used to examine levels of proinflammatory cytokines. Floyd’s (2019) affection exchange theory proposes that affectionate communication, such as hugging, evolved as a mechanism to promote social bonding. There is evidence that this social bonding has health benefits, such as immuno-protective effects. So, I hypothesized that, based on affection exchange theory, there would be an inverse relationship between the frequency of hugging and the levels of proinflammatory cytokines. To test my hypothesis, I compared the reported hugging frequency of participants to the levels of proinflammatory cytokines in their saliva. The proinflammatory cytokines I measured were interleukins (IL) 1-β, 6, and 8, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α). Controlling for baseline levels, I found that there was no significant relationship between hugging behavior and proinflammatory cytokine levels. It is hoped that this can provide insight and directions for future research on the health effects of affectionate communication.
Degree ProgramPhysiology and Medical Sciences