Affectionate communication, health, and relationships

Kory Floyd, Anik Debrot, Sean M. Horan, Colin Hesse, Nathan T. Woo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


A robust body of research attests to the mental and physical health correlates and consequences of affectionate communication. Like much research on personal relationships, however, this work may overrepresent certain portions of the population, may underrepresent others, and may not effectively account for intersections of identities. We define intersectionality as comprising the unique effects of two or more social identities interacting with each other. To assess this literature with an eye toward intersectionality and representation, the present article reports a systematic review of 86 individual empirical studies representing 26,013 participants. The review concludes that there is no explicit or implicit attention to intersectionality in the existing research on affectionate communication and health, and that U.S. Americans, women, younger individuals, white individuals, and students are overrepresented in research samples. The review ends with future directions to encourage more inclusive research on this topic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)44-75
Number of pages32
JournalPersonal Relationships
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • affectionate communication
  • health
  • relationships
  • systematic review
  • well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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