VISTAS Online is an innovative publication produced for ACA by Dr. Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC. Its purpose is to provide a means of capturing the ideas, information and experiences generated by the annual ACA Conference and selected ACA Division Conferences. Papers on a program or practice that has been validated through research or experience may also be submitted. This digital collection of peer-reviewed articles is authored by counselors, for counselors. VISTAS Online contains the full text of over 900 proprietary counseling articles published from 2004 to 2017.
Is Touch Beyond Infancy Important for Children's Mental Health?
Melody Whiddon and Marilyn Montgomery
Theoretically, touch should remain important throughout the lifespan, but most touch research has focused on infants or elders (Field, 2003). It stands to reason that sensitive, contingent physical touch between parent and child would be associated with positive adjustment beyond infancy, such as in middle childhood. However, this relation has been seldom investigated. This article describes a study we conducted to add to current knowledge by focusing on middle childhood, investigating the links between parents’ touch of their children during interaction and their children’s psychological adjustment. It is our hope that our findings, which highlight the importance that parental touch has for children’s well-being, will be beneficial for parents and professionals alike.