Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 109–117 | Cite as

The Effect of Interpersonal Touch During Childhood on Adult Attachment and Depression: A Neglected Area of Family and Developmental Psychology?

  • Mika S. Takeuchi
  • Hitoshi Miyaoka
  • Atsuko Tomoda
  • Masao Suzuki
  • Qingbo Liu
  • Toshinori KitamuraEmail author
Original Paper


Interpersonal touch has been little studied empirically as an indicator of parent- and peer-child intimacy. Undergraduate students (n = 390) were studied using a questionnaire survey regarding the frequencies of interpersonal touch by father, mother, same-sex peers, and opposite-sex peers during preschool ages, grades 1–3, grades 4–6, and grades 7–9, as well as their current attachment style to a romantic partner and current depression. A path model indicated that current depression was influenced significantly by poorer self- and other-images as well as by fewer parental interpersonal touches throughout childhood. Other-image was influenced by early (up to grade 3) parental interpersonal touch. Our findings suggest that a lower frequency of parental touching during childhood influences the development of depression and contributes to a poorer image of an individual’s romantic partner during later adolescence and early adulthood.


Interpersonal touch Attachment Depression 



This study was partly supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan: “Assessment and education for acceptability’s or bodily attachment at care-taking scene between the stuff and the client” (C-14510180).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mika S. Takeuchi
    • 1
  • Hitoshi Miyaoka
    • 2
  • Atsuko Tomoda
    • 3
  • Masao Suzuki
    • 4
  • Qingbo Liu
    • 5
  • Toshinori Kitamura
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Business Administration, Jiyugaoka Sanno CollegeTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryKitasato University School of MedicineSagamiharaJapan
  3. 3.Department of PsychologySaitama Institute of TechnologyFukayaJapan
  4. 4.School of Human Sciences, Waseda UniversityTokyoJapan
  5. 5.Department of Clinical Behavioural Sciences (Psychological Medicine)Kumamoto University Graduate School of Medical SciencesKumamotoJapan

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