Research at Carnegie Mellon University studying the impact of conflict and social support—including hugging by trusted persons. Lead researcher Sheldon Cohen and associates assessed 404 healthy individuals including the frequencies of interpersonal conflicts and receiving hugs. The 404 participants were then exposed to a cold virus and quarantined to assess for infection and symptoms of illness. They found?
- Perceived social support reduced the risk of infection associated with experiencing conflicts. Hugs were responsible for one-third of the protective effect of social support
- Among participants who became infected, greater perceived social support and more frequent hugs both resulted in less severe illness symptoms whether or not they experienced conflicts