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The scent of security: Odor of romantic partner alters subjective discomfort and autonomic stress responses in an adult attachment-dependent manner
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Personality, Social and Developmental Psychology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Clinical psychology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Cognitive psychology. University of Catanzaro, Italy.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6708-1253
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Number of Authors: 72019 (English)In: Physiology and Behavior, ISSN 0031-9384, E-ISSN 1873-507X, Vol. 198, p. 144-150Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

When in a stressful situation, access to adult attachment figures (e.g., romantic partners) is an important means by which adults regulate stress responses. The practice of smelling a partner's worn garment is reported as a self-treatment against stress. Here, we experimentally determined whether exposure to a partner's body odor attenuates adults' subjective discomfort and psychophysiological responses, and whether such effects are qualified by adult attachment security. In a blocked design, participants (N = 34) were presented with their partner's body odor, their own body odor, the odor of a clean t-shirt and rose odor, while exposed to weak electric shocks to induce discomfort and stress responses. Results showed that partner body odor reduces subjective discomfort during a stressful event, as compared with the odor of oneself. Also, highly secure participants had attenuated skin conductance when exposed to partner odor. We conclude that partner odor is a scent of security, especially for attachment-secure adults.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 198, p. 144-150
Keywords [en]
olfaction, adult attachment, body odors, stress, attachment styles
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-163520DOI: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2018.08.024ISI: 000452563000018PubMedID: 30196084OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-163520DiVA, id: diva2:1275861
Available from: 2019-01-07 Created: 2019-01-07 Last updated: 2020-01-20Bibliographically approved

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Granqvist, PehrDöllinger, LillianLiuzza, Marco TullioBlomkvist, AnnaLundström, Johan N.
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Personality, Social and Developmental PsychologyDepartment of PsychologyClinical psychologyCognitive psychologyDepartment of Linguistics
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