Richard Sadler and Martyn McLaughlin, at The Scotsman, 11 September 2008, wrote: "Can a hug make teenagers less terrible?" (Can a hug make teenagers less terrible? - Scotsman.com Living)
Here are some quotes contained in the article:
1. Virginia Satir, the late US psychotherapist, said: "Four hugs a day for survival, eight hugs for maintenance, twelve for growth."
2. Professor Francis McGlone, from the department of neurological sciences at Liverpool University, said: "We are beginning to learn that touch starvation could have dire consequences later in life, as well as adverse effects on health and mental well being.
"The very process of grooming is itself beneficial to wellbeing, and it may be that in the same way people need to be trained to eat less because we're all getting too fat, one could promote grooming.
"Maybe some parents don't stroke their children enough and are not aware of the importance of tactile interaction to the developing brain and the personality that will emerge from that brain."
3. Professor McGlone said: "Susceptibility to depression may have its roots in poor maternal care and early life experiences with touch starvation."
4. Frank Furedi, professor of sociology at the University of Kent, believes excessive child protection policies "foster a climate where adults feel uneasy about acting on their healthy intuition, and feel forced to weigh up how to interact with a child.
"Such calculated behaviour alters the quality of that interaction. It no longer represents an act founded on doing what a mentor feels is right. It is an act influenced by calculations about how it will be interpreted by others, and by anxieties that it should not be misinterpreted."
5. Prof McGlone said "These days teachers cannot touch a child – so if a child gets hurt or something they can't sit that child on their knee and cuddle it.
"There's a downside to this which in a sense is compounding our northern fear of touch and I think perhaps we need a wake-up call to say we've gone too far the other way.
"We need a rational voice that says that touch is actually quite good 99.99 per cent of the time."
According to the Scotsman article:
1. Touch and massage can reduce levels of stress hormones.
2. A 2002 study at the Touch Research Institute in Miami found a direct link between touch and anti-social behaviour.
When a bunch of aggressive teenagers were given regular massage, they became less anxious and less hostile.