Race and sex as stimuli for negative affect and physical avoidance

Michael Hendricks, Richard Bootzin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The present study examined the influence of race and sex on physical distancing and affective reactions. The Ss, 80 white female undergraduates, interacted individually with one of eight confederates (two of each sex and race combination). Three measures were employed: (a) seating distance from a confederate (C), unobtrusively taken at the beginning of the experiment; (b) amount of approach toward the C on an approach test; and (c) ratings of discomfort during the approach test. It was found that Ss maintained greater seating distance from black Cs than they did from white Cs (p <.02). Furthermore, there was a significant relationship (p <.05) between seating distance and affective reactions only for Ss interacting with blacks. With respect to sex, males elicited reported discomfort sooner (p <.01) and to a greater degree (p <.05) on the approach test than did females, but did not elicit greater avoidance. It was concluded that for this population, racial characteristics serve as stimuli for both negative affect and physical avoidance, whereas sexual characteristics serve only as stimuli for negative affect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-120
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Social Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1976
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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