Possible selves in marital roles: The impact of the anticipated division of labor on the mate preferences of women and men

Alice H. Eagly, Paul W. Eastwick, Mary Johannesen-Schmidt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations

Abstract

In two experiments, female and male participants envisioned themselves as a married person with children who is either a homemaker or a provider. Participants who envisioned themselves as a future homemaker regarded a potential mate's provider qualities as more important and homemaker qualities as less important, compared with participants who envisioned themselves as a future provider. Envisioning oneself as a homemaker also shifted preferences toward an older spouse, compared with envisioning oneself as a provider. In the control conditions of the experiments, in which participants freely envisioned their own future marriage, the less provider responsibility anticipated for the wife, the more traditional were mate preferences. These experiments support the social role theory view that the roles anticipated by men and women influence their choice of mates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)403-414
Number of pages12
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Volume35
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2009

Keywords

  • Gender
  • Mate preferences
  • Sex differences
  • Social roles
  • The self

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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