Touch Apprehension Scale

While differences in touching behavior are impacted by culture, there are also large differences in touching behavior within any given culture. This individual difference has a meaningful impact on nonverbal communication. In the North American Culture, touch is the most potent nonverbal communication variable. However, since this culture is a touch avoidant culture, often touch results in miscommunication-liking or rewarding that touch may be intended to communicate may be received as offensive groping by the receiver. Often this leads people recommend that, particularly in the work environment, people not touch at all. Alpha reliability estimates for this instrument should be expected to be above .80.

Directions: Below are 14 statements that people sometimes make about themselves. Please indicate whether or not you believe each statement applies to you by marking in the space before each item number whether you: Strongly Disagree = 1; Disagree = 2; are Neutral = 3; Agree = 4; Strongly Agree = 5

_____1. I don't mind if I am hugged as a sign of friendship.

_____2. I enjoy touching others.

_____3. I seldom put my arms around others.

_____4. When I see people hugging, it bothers me.

_____5. People should not be uncomfortable about being touched.

_____6. I really like being touched by others.

_____7. I wish I were free to show my emotions by touching others.

_____8. I do not like touching other people.

_____9. I do not like being touched by other people.

_____10. I find it enjoyable to be touched by others.

_____11. I dislike having to hug others.

_____12. Hugging and touching should be outlawed.

_____13. Touching others is a very important part of my personality.

_____14. Being touched by others makes me uncomfortable.

Scoring: To determine the score on the Touch Apprehension Scale, complete the following steps:

Step 1. Add scores for items 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 10, and 13

Step 2. Add the scores for items 3, 4, 8, 9, 11, 12, and 14

Step 3. Complete the following formula: Score = 42 + Total from Step 1 - Total from Step 2

Score should be between 14 & 70

Scores > 50 indicate a high touch orientation (Approacher). Scores < 30 indicate a low touch orientation (Avoider). Scores between 40 and 50 indicate no strong touch orientation-amount of touch will typically be that of the general culture.


Richmond, V. P., & McCroskey, J. C. (2004). Nonverbal behavior in interpersonal relations (5th Ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.