Lets get psychological for a second here, the folks at Cornegie Mellon University tested whether hugs act as a form of social support, aids protecting stressed people from getting sick such as a cold. The findings were published in the Association for Psychological Science journal.
Sheldon Cohen and his team chose hugging as a social support example because they’re a marker of having a more intimate and close relationship with another person. They already knew that those who have some social support are partly protected from the effects of stress on the psychological state of the individual, such as depression and anxiety.
On the 404 healthy adults tested, a telephoned questionnaire was done whereby these adults are asked during a 14 day period their state is. This included the frequency of conflicts and receiving hugs. These participants were intentionally exposed to a common cold virus and monitored in quarantine to assess the progress of infection, and if they develop any signs and symptoms.
The results showed that those who had social support had a reduced risk of infection associated compared to those who were associated with conflicts. It also showed those that were infected, those with greater social support and more frequent hugs results in a less severe illness symptom.
Cohen mentions “that being hugged by a trusted person may act as an effective means of conveying support and that increasing the frequency of hugs might be an effective means of reducing the deleterious effects of stress”. He goes on to also state, “The apparent protective effect of hugs may be attributable to the physical contact itself or to hugging being a behavioral indicator of support and intimacy.”
So to conclude, those who receive more hugs are generally more protected from infections, even if it allows for skin to skin contact, it psychologically aids in improving the well being of that individual. Give a hug, get a hug.
Image: Free Hugs