Patterns of matching and initiation: Touch behavior and touch avoidance across romantic relationship stages

Laura K. Guerrero, Peter A. Andersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Scopus citations


This study explores the similarity of touch behavior and touch attitudes among dating and married couples. Touch behavior showed a strong matching effect for seriously dating and married couples. Z-tests revealed that correlations between relational partners were significantly stronger for marrieds than for serious or casual daters. Results for attitudes concerning touch showed a statistically significant but weak relationship between dyadic partners though the correlation strengthened in closer relationships. As was the case in previous studies, results showed that women reported less positive attitudes toward opposite-sex touch than men. A linear contrast in proportions demonstrated that men initiated touch significantly more in casual romantic relationships, but women initiated touch more in married relationships. Together, these data suggest that patterns of matching may vary as a function of relationship stage, while patterns of touch initiation may vary as a function of both relationship stage and sex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-153
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Nonverbal Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 1994
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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