Affection deprivation is more aversive than excessive affection: A test of affection exchange theory

Colin Hesse, Kory Floyd, Alan C. Mikkelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Affection exchange theory predicts that both excessive affection and affection deprivation are associated with poorer health, compared with receiving the level of affectionate communication that one desires. A similar yet-untested prediction is that affection deprivation is more aversive than excessive affection. This preregistered study tested both hypotheses on a battery of mental and physical health outcomes, including depression, loneliness, stress, physical pain, frequency of nightmares, and sleep quality, using a Census-matched sample of U.S. American adults (N = 827). As hypothesized, receiving the right amount of affection was associated with more health-supportive scores on all outcomes than either excessive or deficient affection. Similarly, excessive affection was associated with lower depression, loneliness, stress, and pain, and higher sleep quality, than affection deprivation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPersonal Relationships
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • affection deprivation
  • affectionate communication
  • excessive affection
  • health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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