Clinical Psychology 9 (2016), 2, 203-216

Original scientific paper

Relationship between the Extent of Personal Space, Sex and Trait Anxiety

Vildana Aziraj Smajić - Department of Neuropsychology, Cantonal Hospital "Dr. Irfan Ljubijankić", Bihać, BIH
Sandra Nakić Radoš - Department of Psychology, Catholic University of Croatia, Zagreb

Fulltext (croatian, pages 203-216).pdf

Personal space is defined as an area around an individual in which others cannot enter without causing distress. The aim of this study was were twofold: (1) to investigate personal space preferences in relation to sex of an individual and the person approaching, (2) and to examine the correlation between the extent of personal space and the level of trait anxiety. The extent of personal space was measured by stop-distance technique where unknown persons of both sexes were approaching each participant (N = 145) from four different directions (ahead, behind, from the left and the right). Participants’ task was to say “stop” when feeling distressed. Trait anxiety was measured by the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). The results showed that the average distance between participants and an unknown approaching person is between 70 and 80 cm both for women and men. There was no difference in the extent of personal space between women and men, nor was there a difference in relation to the sex of the approaching person. Higher levels of trait anxiety were significantly related to larger personal space. The findings are consistent with predictions and previous studies.

personal space, anxiety, stop-distance technique

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