By Stephen Beech via SWNS
Women who hug their partner reduce their stress levels, reveals new research.
But hugging a lover does not have the same positive outcome for men, according to the study.
Researchers say their findings suggest that hugging their romantic partner before a stressful event - such as an exam, job interview, or presentation - will help keep anxiety levels down for women.
They discovered that women who embraced their other half before undergoing a stressful experience had a lower biological stress response - as indicated by levels of the stress hormone cortisol in saliva - compared to women who did not embrace their partner.
Study leader Gesa Berretz said: "As a woman, hugging your romantic partner can prevent the acute stress response of your body.
"In some settings, social touch may buffer against stress.
"Previous research has shown that massages, embraces combined with hand-holding, and embraces combined with affectionate communication can all reduce signs of stress in women."
"However, few studies have investigated these effects in men, nor have they explored the effects of brief embraces on their own."
To explore potential stress-reducing effects of embracing, Ms Berretz and her colleagues at Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany, conducted an analysis of 76 people in romantic relationships.
All the participants underwent a stress-inducing test in which they were asked to keep one hand in an ice-water bath for three minutes while being observed and maintaining eye contact with a camera.
Before the test, half of the couples were told to embrace, while the others didn't.
The researchers measured several indicators of stress - including the participants’ salivary cortisol levels, before and after the experiment.
Berretz, a PhD Student in the Department of Biopsychology at Ruhr University, said: "Statistical analysis revealed that women who embraced their partner had a lower cortisol response to the stress test than women who did not embrace their partner.
"However, for men, no associations were observed between embrace and stress-induced cortisol response.
"Other measures of stress including changes in blood pressure and emotional state did not show any associations with partner embrace.
"These results suggest that a brief embrace with a romantic partner might subsequently reduce the cortisol response for women facing stressful social situations, such as school exams, job interviews, or presentations."
She said further research could investigate whether the benefit of a hug extends to embraces with platonic friends.
The team also call for research into related effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Berretz added: "Such investigations could explore whether social restrictions that reduced social touch may be associated with observed increases in stress and depression during the pandemic."
The findings were published in the journal PLoS One.
Stories and infographics by ‘Talker Research’ are available to download & ready to use. Stories and videos by ‘Talker News’ are managed by SWNS. To license content for editorial or commercial use and to see the full scope of SWNS content, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or submit an inquiry via our contact form.
What do people lie about on their online dating profiles?
This story version has been formatted as an on-air script for broadcast outlets. See the original research story here. HALF (47%)...
Should the holiday season last longer?
Is there enough time in the holiday season to do everything we want to do?
Meet the man with a knack for kettlebell juggling
"Getting fit and discovering I have a real talent for kettlebell juggling has had such a positive impact on my...
Tortoise celebrates his 190th birthday
Jonathan has lived through two World Wars, watched more than 35 governors of the island come and go and has...
Why this flower with ability to change color may help feed the world
By Mark Waghorn via SWNS A spectacular flower with a unique color-changing ability may hold the key to feeding the...
- Quizzes2 days ago
Take a swipe at our online dating quiz
- Outer Space6 days ago
Wall-E-like robot to provide power on Moon by 2025
- Art6 days ago
Sir Ringo Starr selling life-size statues of his famous Peace and Love hand gesture
- Holidays1 day ago
Should the holiday season last longer?
- Health5 days ago
Top reasons American seniors avoid going to the doctor
- Holidays3 days ago
Stunning photos show 100,000 colorful poinsettias ready for Christmas
- Outer Space4 days ago
Photos capture the Moon photobombing the Sun
- Outer Space3 days ago
NASA grants 3D printing company $57.2 million to build towns on lunar surface