Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Carrie Bredow

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The goal of the current study is to explore factors that may help explain for whom and under what conditions mate standards are stable. Building on several of the major theories of mate selection we hypothesized that—at a sample level—standards would remain fairly stable over time. However, we expected people who were continuously single, older, had more relationship experience, were lower in marital urgency, and had higher standard salience to report more stable standards than their counterparts. A sample of 343 unmarried, heterosexual adults completed an initial online survey and a follow-up nine months later. Although participants’ Wave 1 and 2 mate standards were correlated fairly strongly, paired-sample t-tests revealed significant changes over time, such that individuals tended to raise their standards over the nine-month period. Individuals who were continuously partnered, older, and lower in marital urgency had more stable standards when measured using a level approach. Continuously single and older individuals had more stable standards when the pattern metric was used. Taken together, these results show that despite a trend of general stability over time, some change in standards did occur, particularly for individuals who were younger, who reported lower marital urgency, and who experienced a relationship transition over the nine-month period.