Term of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)


Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Georgelle Thomas

Committee Member 1

Gary McClure

Committee Member 2

Mary Fortune

Committee Member 3

Peter Miller


From a large number of college students two groups of white female volunteers were selected on the basis of their reported height and weight: an overweight group (N^ = 28), consisting of persons at least +11% overweight, and a normal weight group (N^ = 25) consisting of persons within + 5% of normal weight. Heart rate was monitored for a six minute baseline period and a one minute period during which each person was approached by a confed¬ erate to a distance of 30.48 cm, 60.69 cm, or 99.06 cm. All participants completed a Comfortable Interpersonal Distance Scale (CID), the Impression Formation Questionnaire (IFQ), and Self-Monitoring of Expressive Behavior Scale (SM). Analysis of variance indicated that overweight and normal weight persons approached to the closest distance differed in terms of percentage increase in heart rate (.F (1, 47) = 3.26, £ < .05). Analyses of CID and SM scores were not significant. A discriminant analysis of trait dimensions on the IFQ by weight revealed that overweight persons compared to normals significantly differed in their perceptions of the confederate {% (8) = 20.41, p_<.01). Overweight persons generally perceived the confederate in a more positive manner than did normal weight persons. Normal weight persons did, however, perceive the confederate as more genuine, conventional, and humorous than did overweight persons. Overweight persons rated the confederate significantly more sociable than did normal weight persons (F (1, 47) = 5.01, £<.05). Overweight persons who were approached to the closest distance rated the confederate as more self-assertive than did normal weight subjects (F (2, 47) = 9.20, £ < .001) . Approach distance was a significant factor (F (2, 47) = 5.42, £< .01) in that persons in the close approach distance condition rated the confederate as more competitive than did subjects in the far approach distance.


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