Affective Interpersonal Touch in Close Relationships: A Cross-Cultural Perspective

Agnieszka Sorokowska, Supreet Saluja, Piotr Sorokowski, Tomasz Frąckowiak, Maciej Karwowski, Toivo Aavik, Grace Akello, Charlotte Alm, Naumana Amjad, Afifa Anjum, Kelly Asao, Chiemezie S. Atama, Derya Atamtürk Duyar, Richard Ayebare, Carlota Batres, Mons Bendixen, Aicha Bensafia, Boris Bizumic, Mahmoud Boussena, David M. BussMarina Butovskaya, Seda Can, Katarzyna Cantarero, Antonin Carrier, Hakan Cetinkaya, Dominika Chabin, Daniel Conroy-Beam, Jorge Contreras-Graduño, Marco Antonio Correa Varella, Rosa María Cueto, Marcin Czub, Daria Dronova, Seda Dural, Izzet Duyar, Berna Ertugrul, Agustín Espinosa, Carla Sofia Esteves, Farida Guemaz, Mária Haľamová, Iskra Herak, Ivana Hromatko, Chin Ming Hui, Jas Laile Jaafar, Feng Jiang, Konstantinos Kafetsios, Tina Kavcic, Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair, Nicolas O. Kervyn, Imran Ahmed Khilji, Nils C. Köbis, Aleksandra Kostic, András Láng, Georgina R. Lennard, Ernesto León, Torun Lindholm, Giulia Lopez, Zoi Manesi, Rocio Martinez, Sarah L. McKerchar, Norbert Meskó, Girishwar Misra, Conal Monaghan, Emanuel C. Mora, Alba Moya-Garofano, Bojan Musil, Jean Carlos Natividade, George Nizharadze, Elisabeth Oberzaucher, Anna Oleszkiewicz, Ike Ernest Onyishi, Baris Özener, Ariela Francesca Pagani, Vilmante Pakalniskiene, Miriam Parise, Farid Pazhoohi, Marija Pejičić, Annette Pisanski, Katarzyna Pisanski, Nejc Plohl, Camelia Popa, Pavol Prokop, Muhammad Rizwan, Mario Sainz, Svjetlana Salkičević, Ruta Sargautyte, Ivan Sarmany-Schuller, Susanne Schmehl, Anam Shahid, Rizwana Shaikh, Shivantika Sharad, Razi Sultan Siddiqui, Franco Simonetti, Meri Tadinac, Karina Ugalde González, Olga Uhryn, Christin Melanie Vauclair, Luis Diego Vega Araya, Dwi Ajeng Widarini, Gyesook Yoo, Zainab Fotowwat Zadeh, Marta Zaťková, Maja Zupančič, Ilona Croy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Interpersonal touch behavior differs across cultures, yet no study to date has systematically tested for cultural variation in affective touch, nor examined the factors that might account for this variability. Here, over 14,000 individuals from 45 countries were asked whether they embraced, stroked, kissed, or hugged their partner, friends, and youngest child during the week preceding the study. We then examined a range of hypothesized individual-level factors (sex, age, parasitic history, conservatism, religiosity, and preferred interpersonal distance) and cultural-level factors (regional temperature, parasite stress, regional conservatism, collectivism, and religiosity) in predicting these affective-touching behaviors. Our results indicate that affective touch was most prevalent in relationships with partners and children, and its diversity was relatively higher in warmer, less conservative, and religious countries, and among younger, female, and liberal people. This research allows for a broad and integrated view of the bases of cross-cultural variability in affective touch.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1705-1721
Number of pages17
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The research was funded from statutory funds for AS, PS and TF. During the project, AO was supported by the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education scholarship for years 2018–2020 (#626/STYP/12/2017). Marina Butovskaya and Daria Dronova participated in this study in line with the research plan of the Institute of Ehnology and Anthropology, Moscow.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology


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