Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Sam McFarland, David Shiek, John O'Connor

Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


This study examined, in an experimental setting, the effects of density, group size, sex, length of time, and locus of control on crowding stress. Subjects of the same sex were placed in either small or big groups of either high or low density, observed for two (early & late) 32 minute periods, and then requested to complete a questionnaire containing several dependent measures. Although the seven dependent measures of crowding stress (facial regard, fidgeting, feelings of comfort and well-being, interpersonal attraction, temporal estimation, spatial estimation, & altruism) were found to be relatively independent of each other, all were effected by one or more of the independent variables, with the exception that locus of control was not found to predict reactions to or symptoms of stress. Big group size, high density, and late time period (alone or in combination) were found to be stressful as indicated by one or more of the dependent measures. Group size appeared to be the most important variable, accounting for a relatively substantial proportion of variance in most instances. In contrast, density accounted for considerably less variance, though it did have some impact. Length of time effected both observational variables either as a main effect or when interacting with other variables. Differences between male and female reactions to crowding stress are complex and are discussed. Minimally investigated in the past, the effects of group size and length of time upon crowding stress both merit further exploration.


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences

Included in

Psychology Commons