Sex and the Single Armrest:
Use of Personal Space During Air Travel

Dorothy Marcic Hai, Zahid Y. Khairullah and Nancy Coulmas

St. Bonaventure University¹

Originally Published in 1982


Studies using a questionnaire and direct observation were designed co explore the correlation between sex and territorial space on air­ planes. Subjecrs were observed in the coach section of airplanes to determine whether men or women used the common armrest more, when seated in mixed­ sex arrangement. Other subjects responded co an interview questionnaire at a major airport.  Results indicate that men, with or without control for size, had a much greater tendency to use the common armrest. Also those subjects accustomed to using the armrest felt angrier when denied this space.

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