Young adults' partner preferences and parents' in-law preferences across generations, genders, and nations
Br. Andrew Gonzalez FSC College of Education
Counseling and Educational Psychology
European Journal of Social Psychology
To examine cultural, gender, and parent–child differences in partner preferences, in eight countries undergraduates (n = 2,071) and their parents (n = 1,851) ranked the desirability of qualities in someone the student might marry. Despite sizable cultural differences—especially between Southeast Asian and Western countries—participants generally ranked kind/understanding (reflecting interpersonal communion) highest, and intelligent and healthy (reflecting mental/physical agency) among the top four. Students valued exciting, attractive partners more and healthy, religious partners less than parents did; comparisons with rankings by youth in 1984 (i.e., from the parents' generation) suggested cohort effects cannot explain most parent–child disagreements. As evolutionary psychology predicts, participants prioritized wives' attractiveness and homemaker skills and husbands' education and breadwinner skills; but as sociocultural theory predicts, variations across countries/decades in gendered spousal/in-law preferences mirrored socioeconomic gender differences. Collectively, the results suggest individuals consider their social roles/circumstances when envisioning their ideal spouse/in-law, which has implications for how humans’ partner-appraisal capabilities evolved. © 2020 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Digitial Object Identifier (DOI)
Locke, K. D., Mastor, K. A., MacDonald, G., Barni, D., Morio, H., Reyes, J. S., Vargas-Flores, J., Ibáñez-Reyes, J., Kamble, S., & Ortiz, F. A. (2020). Young adults' partner preferences and parents' in-law preferences across generations, genders, and nations. European Journal of Social Psychology, 50 (5), 903-920. https://doi.org/10.1002/ejsp.2662
Mate selection; Parental acceptance; Parental influences