Requests for reprints should be sent to Peter Glick, Psychology Department, Lawrence University, Box 599, Appleton, WI54912.
Keeping Your Distance: Group Membership, Personal Space, and Requests for Small Favors1
Version of Record online: 31 JUL 2006
Journal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume 18, Issue 4, pages 315–330, March 1988
How to Cite
Glick, P., Demorest, J. A. and Hotze, C. A. (1988), Keeping Your Distance: Group Membership, Personal Space, and Requests for Small Favors. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 18: 315–330. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.1988.tb00019.x
This research was supported by a grant from Lawrence University. We gratefully acknowledge Alana Matwychuk, Nancy Welch, Allan Bateson, Walter Stephan and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on earlier versions of this manuscript.
- Issue online: 31 JUL 2006
- Version of Record online: 31 JUL 2006
The effects of group membership and interpersonal distance on interpersonal anxiety and compliance with a small request were explored. In a field experiment, people seated alone in the public eating area or a shopping mall were approached by one of two female confederates: an in-group member or an out-group member. Three different interpersonal distances were assumed by the confederates: near, medium, and far. The “medium” distance was the normative distance for interactions between strangers in the experimental situation. Although the out-group confederate aroused greater anxiety and obtained less compliance than the in-group confederate overall, these differences completely disappeared in the far-distance condition. It is suggested that one reason why out-group members are less likely to elicit compliance with a small request is that they arouse interpersonal anxiety on the part of potential helpers. The results of the present experiment indicate that this anxiety can be reduced (and compliance thereby increased) if the out-group member assumes a somewhat greater distance than is normally deemed appropriate for interactions between strangers.