Women Who Hug Their Partners Reduce Their Stress Levels

A study has found that women who hug their partners could reduce their stress significantly. However, men who embrace their partners do not benefit similarly. When women hugged their partners before stressful activities like job interviews, presentations, or exams, their stress levels went down. The researchers discovered this after resting for cortisol levels in their saliva.

According to Gesa Beretz, the lead study author from Ruhr University, hugging partners could control acute stress responses in women. Moreover, different forms of social touch could lower stress for them. This included hugs, holding hands, and massages. These things worked well when given with affectionate communication. Unfortunately, men don’t seem to reap the same benefits from touch.

How researchers conducted the study

For the study, the researchers gathered 76 people who are in relationships. The researchers asked the volunteers to dip one hand in an ice water bath for three mi. They also had to maintain eye contact with a camera throughout the period.

To test their stress response after social touch, the researchers had 50% of the couple hug before the experiment while the rest did not. They then measured their stress indicators before and after the experiment. One indicator was the level of salivary cortisol.

The team found that the women who had hugged their partners responded better to the stress than those who hadn’t. However, there was no significant difference for men who had embraced their partners in stress levels.

This difference was not seen in the levies of stress-induced cortisol. The other indicators of stress that the researchers used did not change regardless of hugging. These were emotional state and blood pressure.

Hugging could benefit women in stressful situations

The researchers concluded that hugging could be beneficial to women who were about to face stressful social situations. They also want to investigate if hugging platonic friends could have a similar effect on women or any outcome for men. 

Furthermore, the team hopes to evaluate how hugging could help people cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. This could be beneficial as the rates of stress and anxiety have risen during this period. They could also examine how limited social interactions have reduced physical touch and increased stress.

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