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Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Graduate Studies

First Advisor

Roseann Harmon

First Committee Member

Gary N. Howells

Second Committee Member

Kenneth L. Beauchamp


The U-shaped relationship between age and interpersonal distance was surprising. The human infant’s need for physical contact to ensure healthy development has been well established. Developmental studies indicate that by kindergarten age, children are playing cooperatively with each other. It was expected, then, that the younger children would maintain a close physical relationship with their peers, with this distance widening as a function of age and acculturation until adult norms were reached. This expectation has been supported by previous research. The main purpose of the present experiment was to investigate further the relationship between age and interpersonal distance. Secondary purposes were to extend the study to include twelfth grade subjects and to look at approaches made to opposite-sexed as well as same-sexed peers. If the sex differences that occurred at sixth and ninth grades were a function of the earlier adolescence of girls, then these differences might be more pronounced when sex of person to be approached is introduced as a variable. The Horowitz, et al. (1964) study was used as a model again, because it offers a simple method for accurate measurement of interpersonal distances in a controlled situation.



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