Self-concept and Regulation of Interpersonal Distance in Close Relationships: A Study with Comfortable Interpersonal Distance Test

Document Type : Original Article


Assistant Professor, Departman of Psyhology, Shahid Beheshti University


Aim: Physical distance regulation in interpersonal interactions is a key component of the quality of close relationships. This distance is regulated differently in various individuals and psychological states. The aim of this study was the study of comfortable interpersonal distance in individuals with negative and positive self-concept. Method: In this study we compared 47 students with positive self-concept with 47 students with negative self-concept in terms of the comfortable interpersonal distance when facing different protagonists (including mother, love partner, close friend, childhood self-image and current self-image as significant others, as well as salesperson and thief). All participants in both groups completed modified computerized version of the comfortable interpersonal distance (CID) task in both the passive mode (when protagonists approached them) and the active mode (when they approached protagonists). We asked participants to determine the point at which they felt uncomfortable. Results: The results of repeated measures MANOVA showed the negative self-concept group preferred a significantly larger interpersonal distance than the positive self-concept group with all protagonists except the salesperson and thief. Conclusion: The results of this study, while emphasizing the role of self-alienation in regulating interpersonal distance with others, were discussed in the framework of object relations and attachment theories.


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