Getting sick isn’t fun. To see if social support helps combat illness, researchers interviewed 406 healthy adults each day for two weeks about whether they were hugged that day. Researchers then exposed participants to the common cold and assessed participants’ mucus secretions, congestion, and antibodies present in their blood over the next few weeks. Participants who received more hugs were less likely to become infected with the cold and experienced less nasal congestion. Hugs were especially important on particularly stressful or tense days. So the next time you feel yourself coming down with a cold…think hugs, not drugs.
Cohen, S., Janicki-Deverts, D., Turner, R. B., & Doyle, W. J. (2015). Does hugging provide stress-buffering social support? A study of susceptibility to upper respiratory infection and illness. Psychological Science.