The frequency and function of self-touch and of touching another was studied among 32 three-year-old kibbutz children, their mothers, and their metaplot [caretakers; singular: metapelet] in two contexts: coconstruction of a narrative with Duplo toys, and coconstruction of a narrative with an emotion-evoking picture book without text. Self-touch, mainly fidgeting, was more frequent for children during the task with the picture book and more frequent for adults during the task with the Duplo toys. Mothers and children touched each other more often than metaplot and children. Adults' touches of the children were perceived as either expressions of affection or as acts of grooming and were task-related. The children's touching of the adults was mainly task-related. It appears that self-touch is for children and adults alike a mode of self-regulation of mild stress and that touching the other has a wide range of functions, especially in intimate relationships.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health