Body Ego and Trauma as Correlates of Comfort in the Physical Proximity of Others
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The purpose of the study was to investigate the associations between comfort in the physical proximity of others and interpersonal trauma and body ego. Comfort in the physical proximity of others was measured using a self-report method, as well as by means of a procedure where the experimenter initiated interpersonal touch. The results show that comfort in the physical proximity of others (based on self-report) was associated with four types of trauma (emotional, physical or sexual abuse and emotional neglect) as well as with all aspects of dysfunctional body ego (e.g. disrupted perception, problems with interpreting and regulating physical states). Defying expectations, the types of trauma studied did not differentiate individuals experiencing comfort from those experiencing discomfort, in an experimental setting of being touched. As predicted, both groups differed in all aspects of body ego. Moreover body ego proved to be a mediator between trauma and comfort in the physical proximity of others (self-report measure).
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