It is part of human psychology to thrive in social environments, thanks to our heritage of living in interdependent groups. However, increasing time spent alone, thought to be due to development of technology such as the mobile phone and Television, means that many people are not getting the face time and human contact they need for a happy and healthy life. The phenomenon known as ‘skin hunger’ or ‘touch-starvation’ suggest that this has contributed to an increased mood disorders such as depression and anxiety as well as having physical health impacts comparable to smoking or obesity.
It is becoming increasingly apparent that those between 16 and 25 are most susceptible to this disorder as it is an age where we begin to pull away from parents to become independent. There is often a large change in social environment such as a move to university or further education that results in many people feeling isolated and seeking comfort. They feel this is more difficult to find
as they are in the process of creating new relationships that they do not yet enough trust in to make themselves ‘vulnerable’.
The majority of evidence around ‘skin hunger’ is based on its affects on early development and growth. Harry Harlow’s experiments with new-born monkeys demonstrated that infants will naturally choose the comfort of something soft above proper nourishment when selecting a surrogate mother. This suggests that they are naturally wired to seek out affection as a method of survival. Similarly, it is evident that infants in orphanages have a lower rate of survival, which is amplified during times of war due to increases in loss of parents and high stress.
Additionally, there is a known rela
tionship for children who experience a lack of attention from caregivers or spend extended periods in care to have poor ability to trust. However, this is not the only thing that has an increased risk for these children, there are also problems relating to attention span and logical thinking often leading to a confused thought process. Also recent evidence is revealing more physical constraints such as poor balance, hand-ey
e coordination, posture and fine motor skills, thus often leading them to being incorrectly pla
ced on the a
Given this information, it is clear that the world would benefit from a more interactive society. Not only could this lea
d to a decrease in health problems but also an increase in productivity and happy workers are more effective workers. Decreasing stress and anxiety will also have a
positive impact on education and learning as people are more likely to retain information when they are more emotionally stable.
utistic spectrum. This may lead to them being approached more cautiously thus being further deprived of the affection the need. The results of this lack of attention may then be brought into adulthood and lead to further problems.
So if you’re having a bad day, don’t be afraid to get your cuddle on!