Exploratory Study of Touch zones in college students on two campuses
The purpose of this exploratory study was to characterize college student beliefs about where it is acceptable to touch and be touched by other students in casual social interactions. Undergraduate students at a residential university (N = 242) and at a local community college (N = 200) completed the Touch Survey. The survey measures beliefs about touching in social interactions. Hierarchical cluster analyses were used to form touch zones (Public, Discretionary, and Private) by gender and direction of touch. The results of the study showed distinct same- and opposite-gender touch zone patterns, and there were touch zone differences between the two campuses. There were reciprocal touch zones for residential university male/male public touch zones and female/female private touch zones. There were no reciprocal touch zones for the community college sample. Implications for college health educators are discussed.