College of Arts & Sciences

Date of Award

Summer 8-2002

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Linda M. Montgomery, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Spencer K. Thompson, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Kay Ketzenberger, Ph.D.


To determine the tolerance levels of public displays of affection between males, females, Hispanics, and White Non-Hispanics (Whites), a total of 152 participants completed the Attitudes Toward Public Displays of Affection Inventory. While the hypothesis that males would be significantly more tolerant than females of observing public displays of affection was statistically supported for certain settings and certain levels of affection, overall, results may not be clinically meaningful. The second hypothesis, that there would be a significant difference between Hispanics and Whites and their tolerance levels for watching public displays of affection, was not supported. Overall trends indicate passionately kissing was the line of acceptability with acts listed prior as being acceptable and acts listed after it being unacceptable. Passionately kissing itself, yielded mixed results depending on the situation. Results also indicated that passionately kissing was the level in which acts switched from being affectionate to being erotic. Overall, males were more accepting of witnessing the various acts in public than were females. Implications for future research includes a larger variety of participants from different parts of the US, who the participants were with at the time of the observed affection, how much affection the participant would be willing to engage in at different locations, age of the observed couple, ethnicity of the observed couple, and varying the gender of the observed couples.