Generational differences in mate selection

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The "Campus Values in Mate Selection" has aimed to understand what characteristics college-aged men and women find most desirable in a mate. The present study builds on nine other assessment periods beginning in 1939, including a third assessment of a religious sample, and for the first time it looks at how religious internalization may influence mate characteristics. Participants (55 males, 125 females) completed an online survey asking them to rank 18 mate characteristics as well as completing the "Christian Religious Internalization Scale" (Ryan, Rigby & King, 1993), which assessed two kinds of religious internalization: introjected and identified. A few of the 18 mate characteristics were found to stay consistently in the top five across all assessment periods. For both males and females this includes both Dependable Character, and Emotional Stability/Maturity, for males Mutual Attraction/Love can also be included. An average of rankings across all ten assessment periods shows Mutual Attraction/Love the highest characteristic for both males and females. Males ranked both Good Looks and Good Health higher than females, and females ranked Good Financial Prospect and Ambitious/Industrious higher than males in all ten assessment periods. As expected, Similar Religious Background ranked much higher for the samples coming from the religious school. However, it appears that there may be a decline in the importance of Chastity for the religious sample. Some differences were also noted based on type of religious internalization and their ranking of various mate characteristics.

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North American Journal of Psychology





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Behavioral Sciences


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