Interpersonal distance, body orientation, and touch: effects of culture, gender, and age

J Soc Psychol. 1995 Jun;135(3):281-97. doi: 10.1080/00224545.1995.9713958.


Video recordings of naturally occurring interactions in England, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Greece, Scotland, and Ireland were coded and analyzed to examine the effects of culture, gender, and age on interpersonal distance, body orientation, and touch. Results partially supported expected differences between contact cultures of southern Europe and noncontact cultures of northern Europe with respect to touch. More touch was observed among Italian and Greek dyads than among English, French, and Dutch dyads. In addition, an interaction effect between age and gender for body orientation suggested opposite development trends for mixed-sex dyads and male dyads. Whereas mixed dyads tended to maintain less direct orientations as they aged, male dyads maintained more direct orientations.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging*
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Culture*
  • England
  • Female
  • France
  • Greece
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands
  • Posture*
  • Scotland
  • Sex Factors
  • Spatial Behavior*
  • Touch*
  • Videotape Recording