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Three Out of Four Americans Say 'I Love You'


          A Third Say 'I Love You' More Than They Did Five Years Ago

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y., Feb. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Despite the stereotypes of parents and spouses who never express their affection, a recent poll conducted by Reader's Digest and the Gallup Organization shows that almost three quarters of all Americans, 73%, say "I love you" to their spouse or children every day. Another 14% say those three words several times a week, and 5% once a week-suggesting that more than 9 in 10 Americans profess affection to their loved ones at least once a week. Also, 33% of Americans say that compared with five years ago, they are expressing their love more than they used to, while just 5% say they are doing so less than they used to.

Is this increase caused at least in part by 9/11? Quite likely. A Gallup poll three days after the terrorist attacks found 77% of Americans saying that as a result of 9/11, they were expressing more affection for their loved ones than they normally did. A year later, almost half, 47%, still said they were expressing more affection for their loved ones because of 9/11.

"We're built to love and protect those closest to us, and it is their loss which affects us most profoundly," says Georgia Witkin, Ph.D., Director of The Stress Program at Mount Sinai Medical Center. It is our involvement in the lives of those closest to us which pulls us back into daily life after a natural disaster or national crisis and helps us seek stress-relief. Intuitively or literally, we all realized this since 9/11. We verbalize our love more readily, we are more aware that anything can happen between our morning goodbyes and our evening hellos. I find more of us not only say "I love you," but mean it!"

"I am not at all surprised by the high number of people professing love to their loved ones, said Michele Weiner-Davis, MSW, a marriage and family therapist who runs The Divorce Busting Center. I feel fairly certain that there is so much focus on relationships in the media that unless your is brain dead, its impossible not to think about the importance of love in ones life."

"Plus, as a generation, people are more likely to be demonstrative to their spouses and children in reaction to their less-than-demonstrative parents," said Weiner-Davis. "In the 21 century, we're allowed to let it all hang out."

The Reader's Digest Family Index, a twice-a-year survey and index of family well-being, is produced in conjunction with The Gallup Organization. Until now, the U.S. has measured society's well-being using consumer indices based almost exclusively on spending patterns. But families know there is more to life than buying school supplies or refrigerators. This unique ongoing project will provide unprecedented insights into the core concerns of American families, the foundation of our society.


The Reader's Digest Association, Inc. (NYSE: RDA), is a global publisher and direct marketer of products that inform, enrich, entertain and inspire people of all ages and all cultures around the world. The company's main Web site is at www.rd.com. Revenues were $2.5 billion for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2003. Global headquarters are located at Pleasantville, New York.

SOURCE  Reader's Digest Association, Inc.

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