Affection exchange theory: A bio-evolutionary look at affectionate communication

Kory Floyd, Colin Hesse, Mark Alan Generous

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

6 Scopus citations


Many family relationships are initiated and maintained through the exchange of affectionate behaviors such as hugging, kissing, hand holding, or saying “I love you.” Indeed, expressions of affection often serve as turning points that advance relational development for marital, parental, sibling, and other family relationships. Affectionate communication contributes not only to the health of relationships, but also to the physical health of the people in them. Why humans engage in affectionate behavior, and why it is associated with these benefits, are among the questions addressed by affection exchange theory (AET). This chapter will describe the purpose and assumptions of AET and delineate its basic principles. It will also identify how AET conceptually defines communication, and it will review some of the research that has used AET to increase understanding of family relationships. Finally, it will address the theory’s strengths and limitations, and offer suggestions for future research and applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEngaging Theories in Family Communication
Subtitle of host publicationMultiple Perspectives
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781351790680
ISBN (Print)9781138700932
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Psychology(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Affection exchange theory: A bio-evolutionary look at affectionate communication'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this