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January 26, 1976

Cuddling: The Influences of Culture and Sex

JAMA. 1976;235(4):417. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03260300043033

The reference lists in two articles1,2 attest to the fact that Hollender, sometimes with co-authors, has written extensively on the meaning and extent of the human desire to be held (cuddled). Previous studies, however, have not addressed the question of whether cultural influences affect women's attitudes toward the amount of holding permitted or encouraged.

In the first article cited,1 the authors examined the differences in the wish to be held among five groups of Asian women living in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Of most immediate interest is the contrast in the desire for body contact between Chinese women educated in English schools (and influenced by English customs) and their native-educated counterparts.

Of the subjects in the study, there were 24 Chinese-educated and 65 English-educated women. All subjects were married; most were in their 20s or 30s. They were asked to respond to a questionnaire, with the explanation that information