Being “in Touch”: The Role of Daily Empathic Accuracy and Affectionate Touch Fulfillment in Shaping Well-Being

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  • The receipt of affectionate touch from a relationship partner has been found to influence one's social, personal, and physical well-being. However, simply receiving a hug or a kiss from a spouse may not be enough, as recent research suggests that the benefits of affectionate touch may only be realized when a person receives the amount of affectionate touch that they desire. This implies that a relationship partner must recognize the extent to which a person desires touch for that person to reap the relational and personal benefits of affectionate touch. Using data collected from a sample of community couples (N = 144) across 21-days, the current study assessed whether having more accurate perceptions of a partner's desire for affectionate touch (i.e., empathic accuracy) would be associated with the partner, and self, experiencing greater relational and personal well-being. It was hypothesized that at the within- and between- persons levels having a partner who experiences more empathic accuracy for a person's desire for affectionate touch would be associated with a person reporting greater affectionate touch fulfillment, which would consequently be related to that person experiencing greater relational and personal well-being. The nuances of this association were also examined to determine whether these associations were more important on certain days (i.e., stressful vs. non-stressful) and for certain people (e.g., those who are less avoidantly attached vs. those who are more avoidantly attached). Multilevel modeling in combination with actor partner interdependence modelling was used to test the hypotheses of the current study. Overall, the findings suggested that a partner's empathic accuracy is important for person's relational well-being, and that a person's affectionate touch fulfillment plays a pivotal role in explaining the association between a partner's empathic accuracy and a person's relational and personal well-being, especially on stressful days.

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  • Copyright © 2021 the author(s). Theses may be used for non-commercial research, educational, or related academic purposes only. Such uses include personal study, research, scholarship, and teaching. Theses may only be shared by linking to Carleton University Institutional Repository and no part may be used without proper attribution to the author. No part may be used for commercial purposes directly or indirectly via a for-profit platform; no adaptation or derivative works are permitted without consent from the copyright owner.
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  • 2021


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