Kory Floyd, Colin Hesse, Justin P. Boren, Alice E. Veksler
Southern Communication Journal, 79, 2-13
Publication year: 2014

The communication of affection in close relationships has been linked empirically to multiple physical and mental health benefits that are attributable largely to its stress-alleviating effects. Because affectionate communication frequently involves tactile contact of an intimate nature, however, it may also elevate vulnerability to opportunistic illness and infection, increasing the chances for immune system suppression. Using a sample of 52 healthy adults in cohabiting romantic relationships who were seropositive for latent human herpesvirus-4 (also known as the Epstein-Barr virus), the present study documented that self-reported trait expressed affection predicts antibody titers to Epstein-Barr virus viral capsid antigen complex, indicating viral replication and suppressed cell-mediated immunity.