Assessing individual differences in attitudes towards touch in treatment settings: Introducing the touch & health scale

Vafeiadou, Aikaterini; Bowling, Natalie C; Hammond, Claudia and Banissy, Michael J.. 2022. Assessing individual differences in attitudes towards touch in treatment settings: Introducing the touch & health scale. Health Psychology Open, 9(2), ISSN 2055-1029 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Individuals commonly receive touch in treatment settings, but there is limited research on how they perceive it. The current project sought to address this gap by: 1) developing the Touch & Health Scale (THS) - a novel instrument to measure attitudes to touch in treatment settings 2) assessing inter-individual differences in THS scores, and 3) examining the association between individuals’ THS scores and wellbeing. Data of a large U.K. adults sample (N > 12,000) were used. THS showed Cronbach’s α between 0.636 and 0.816 and significant correlations (p < 0.001) with day-to-day attitudes to touch. THS scores differed as a function of extraversion and avoidant attachment style. Participants with more positive attitudes to touch in treatment settings showed greater wellbeing. Overall, the study highlights the importance of a personalised approach to touch in treatment settings and provides a new scale that may act as a screening tool for this purpose.

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Additional Information:

Funding: MB was supported by the Economic and Social Research Council [ES/R007527/1].

Data Access Statement:

The current study is based on the “Touch Test” survey, an online cross-sectional study conducted in collaboration with Wellcome Collection and BBC Radio 4. The full list of the Touch Test measures is available here: Touch Experiences & Attitudes Pre-Registration ( and the raw data-set is available here: Touch Test Data (


Health psychology, well-being, attachment style, scale, diversity, touch attitudes

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18 October 2022Accepted
14 November 2022Published Online

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Date Deposited:

04 Jan 2024 11:38

Last Modified:

04 Jan 2024 11:38

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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