A lack of closeness due to Coronavirus: Does the social Isolation of sick?

Ultimately, we are all just monkeys. And like little Monkey infants and small children to calm down often, when they feel the proximity of the mother.

Adult people understand the language of touch as well – the skin is the largest sense organ of the human body.

Only: in the Midst of the Corona-crisis I have to be just of loved ones, particularly in nursing homes, people miss their family, their closeness and touch.

What makes all of us who may be a second wave of Coronavirus infections breaks loose?

People need touches

The importance of touch for people, suggesting the cruel-seeming experiments of the American psychologist Harry Harlow had made monkeys in the 1950s with small Rhesus.

For the baby, the researchers had cases monkey a wire rack with a milk bottle rigged up, and a “cloth mother”, with Terry fabric and plush cushions.

Not surprisingly, The Monkeys clung to the “cloth mother,” lived, as it were, and were healthier than the infant monkeys with wire mother.

“This shows that we don’t need that, we are as different as Monkeys and rats,” says Jürgen Margraf, Professor of Clinical psychology and psychotherapy at the Ruhr-University of Bochum. “We need to be touched.”

To touch someone – that’s part of the human communication of emotion.

“There is emotion, psychological experiments have shown that people can recognize emotions such as love, gratitude, sympathy, Anger, fear, disgust, only on the basis of the touch by a different Person,” says the developmental psychologist Simon forest Meier of the University of Siegen.

The need for comforting or tender touches will stay into old age. And there is even research to show that touch can be perceived with aging, as always, enjoyable.

Social Distancing makes you sick?

You will be so sick, when touches of absence over a longer period of time? It was clear: By means of touch, developed people trust, feel comfortable, explains Margraf. “But it is animals are not regarded as absolute.”

Because people could see into the future and realize: there are other times come back. Who knows this could be the non-contact time – for many months, he estimates.

It depends on whether we feel the Stress as controllable.

“When you’re isolated and locked away, without knowing the reason, then the consequences would be, but we know why, and make the volunteer”, explains the psychologist. “Then it’s not so bad.”

To come: there are Common challenges and extreme situations, increase self-esteem: “That has to be on the other side of the pan. If we make drastic experience, it is very strong on how we process the next and what story we tell.”

After all, children and young people, should have been in the crisis touches in the family not to give up, older couples, says forestry Meier.

“What is omitted, unfortunately, are the touches between adult children and their parents, perhaps the shopping in front of the door, but the parents are not in the Arm can take. And the touches between the grandchildren and their beloved grandparents.”

If contact is a way to show Affection, there is the risk that this need will not be met. Have shown that touch the stress level of the sink – thanks to the hormone Oxytocin, which will approximately be distributed in case of contact in the brain.

New forms of emotional proximity

What is the solution? You can ignore all the precautions and still touch. Here it is on the individual risk profile of older people, explains forest Meier.

“But I see a second solution: If contact is eliminated as the language of Affection, we should apply other languages of Affection. Because there is Yes.”

The American pair of Advisor Gary Chapman have coined the term the “five languages of love” – in addition to touch it to be honest recognition and Expressions of gratitude, the Giving of time, small gifts and willingness to help.

Just need to know which language the people were receptive: “Because that’s where we differ.”

Margraf sees a very different risk of temporarily forced Isolation for example, in the family: When children and parents are constantly together, they reacted may be irritated.

“After a couple of weeks to go to the spirit,” he speculates. Then irritated reactions threatened – and possibly more violence.


  • Harlow, H. (1958): The Nature of Love, retrieved on 28.05.2020: http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/Harlow/love.htm

Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa)

*The contribution of “a Lack of closeness due to Coronavirus: Does the social Isolation of sick?” is published by FitForFun. Contact with the executives here.