Few behavioral processes are more central to the development and maintenance of intimate relationships than the communication of affection. Indeed, affectionate expressions often initiate and accelerate relational development. By contrast, their absence in established relationships frequently coincides with relational deterioration. This text explores the scientific research on affection exchange to emerge from the disciplines of communication, social psychology, family studies, psychophysiology, anthropology, and nursing. Specific foci include the individual and relational benefits (including health benefits) of affectionate behavior, as well as the significant risks often associated with expressing affection. A new, comprehensive theory of human affection exchange is offered, and its merits relative to existing theories are explored.
Kory Floyd is associate professor and director of graduate MA studies in the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication at Arizona State University. He holds a Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Arizona (1998), an M.A. in Speech Communication from the University of Washington (1994), and a B.A. in English Literature from Western Washington University (1991). He has authored or co-authored four other books and more than 60 journal articles and book chapters on topics related to affectionate communication, nonverbal behavior, and family relationships. In addition, he is currently editor of Journal of Family Communication and has been an associate editor of Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. He has earned a number of awards for his research, including the New Scholar of the Year award from the International Network on Personal Relationships.
1. An introduction to affectionate communication; 2. Thinking about affection: the theories; 3. Encoding affectionate messages; 4. Decoding and responding to affectionate expressions; 5. Benefits of expressing and receiving affection; 6. Risks associated with affectionate communication; 7. A new theoretic approach; 8. Affectionate communication in human interaction.