Touch in close relationships

Touch and well-being in the insecurely attached

In a multi-method study, we investigate how attachment avoidance is association with touch and its association with well-being.

Prof. Emily A. Impett, University of Toronto Mississauga
Prof. Geoff MacDonald, University of Toronto
Prof. Jennifer Stellar, University of Toronto Mississauga
Prof. Dacher Keltner, University of California, Berkeley

Intercultural differences in the effects of touch in close relationships

In collaboration with Prof. Belinda Campos, University California, Irvine, and Prof. Vicente Cassepp-Borges, University of Federal Fluminense, Brazil, we investigate the differences in the frequency and effect of touch on well-being across different types of close relationships in Latino vs Northern-Western cultures.

Involved students:

  • Lisa Dumont, Argelia Arestegui, and Maria Remon-Ore, master students, University of Lausanne
  • Nicole Froidevaux, PhD-student, University of California, Irvine

Touch as a stress-buffer: An experimental study with physiological measures

This projects investigates whether touch, from the romantic partner or from a stranger, can play a role as a buffer of an experimentally induced stress (self-esteem threat).

Prof. Petra Klumb, University of Fribourg
Prof. Jennifer Stellar, University of Toronto Mississauga

Touch from a clinical psychology perspective

Is touch experienced differently when a person suffers from a mental health issue? What about their partners? Can we promote well-being when inducing people to touch? In a range of project, we are starting to address these questions.


  • Prof. Valentino Pomini, University of Lausanne
  • Prisca Gerber is looking at individuals differences in the association between touch and stress.
  • Marina Fasolin, Audrey Ferrari, Sophie Heurtault, Virginie Martin and Sabrina Didisheim are investigating the experience of touch in people with higher depression scores.
  • Kerem Besim Durbin (Leiden University) developed an app that allows to prompt couples to touch each other while there are together. This allows to investigate the causal link between touch and relational and individual well-being in a naturalistic setting. This project is in collaboration with Prof. Johan Karremans (Radboud University , Nijmegen), and Prof. Reine van der Wal, Utrecht University).