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10/05/2018 14:00 EDT | Updated 10/05/2018 14:08 EDT

A Hug Keeps Negative Emotions At Bay After Conflict: Study

Hug it out!

We're all for hugs-based studies.

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University interviewed 404 adult men and women every night for 14 consecutive days, asking about their daily conflicts, daily hugs, and their positive and negative moods.

Most individuals reported experiencing conflict at least one day of the study and receiving a hug at least one day during the study.

The findings, published online in the journal PLOS ONE, suggested that receiving a hug on a day when a participant also experienced conflict with someone was associated with a decrease in negative emotions.

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Women hugging.

The effect of receiving a hug also appeared to last, with those who were hugged still showing less negative emotions the next day.

The researchers suggest that hugs may buffer against the negative changes in mood that can be brought on by conflict and may be a simple, yet effective method of providing support to men and women experiencing distress as a result of conflict.

Previous research has already suggested that those who engage more frequently in interpersonal touch, such as hugging or holding hands, may benefit from improved relationships with others as well as a boost in individual well-being.

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However, past studies on this topic are limited as they have mainly focused on the role of touch in romantic relationships.

"This research is in its early stages. We still have questions about when, how, and for whom hugs are most helpful. However, our study suggests that consensual hugs might be useful for showing support to somebody enduring relationship conflict," commented lead author Michael Murphy.

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