Exploring the Role of Non-Sexual Physical Touch in Intimacy and Connection Among Couples with Trauma History
We have developed a pilot study to explore the role of non-sexual physical touch in intimacy and connection among couples with trauma history. Our research study is currently under IRB review and once the study receives IRB approval, we will begin recruiting and collecting data. Our population of interest is couples with trauma history because trauma has been determined to be a risk factor of decreased relationship satisfaction in couples (Nelson Goff et al., 2006; Riggs, 2014, Ruhlmann, et al., 2018). Physical touch, a necessity for human survival, may be a protective factor of relationship satisfaction in couples with a history of trauma, particularly non-sexual physical touch (van der Kolk, 2015). Using biofeedback measures, our intervention involves couples talking about a moderately traumatic memory while engaging in non-sexual physical touch and not making any physical contact. Our aim is to understand how physical touch affects intimacy and connectedness in couples.