Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Carrie Bredow

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Past research has found that greater consistency between mate standards and perceptions of one’s romantic partner (i.e., standards-perception consistency) predicts higher relationship quality (e.g., Eastwick, Finkel & Eagly, 2011; Fletcher, Simpson, & Thomas, 2000; Zentner, 2005). However, most of this research has assessed people’s standards when they were already in a relationship; only one study of speed-daters has provided evidence that standards reported prior to relationship formation (i.e., a priori standards) predict later relationship evaluations (Eastwick et al., 2011). Our study aims to replicate these findings while also examining standards reported prior to relationship formation (i.e., a priori standards) as well as potential moderators of this association. We hypothesized that the greater the match between individuals’ a priori standards and their partner perceptions, the higher relationship quality they will report (H1). Additionally, we expected the association between a priori standards and partner perceptions to be more important for relationship quality when people are in committed versus casual relationships, report higher standard salience, and have higher mate value and greater access to potential mates (H2-H5). A sample of 79 participants recruited from various settings completed two waves of an online survey assessing their standards (T1), partner perceptions (T2), and relationship quality (satisfaction, commitment, and ambivalence), among other things. Regression analyses revealed higher standards-perception consistency predicts higher relationship quality when using the pattern metric rather than the level metric. However, regression analyses examining potential moderators of this relationship (e.g. relationship type) were insignificant. This suggests that individuals may uniformly experience greater relationship quality when their partner reflects the pattern, but not necessarily the level, of traits they seek in a partner.