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Bredow, C. A., & Hames, N. (2019). Steadfast Standards or Fluctuating Fancies? Stability and Change in People’s Mate Criteria Over 27 Months. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 45(5), 671–687. Copyright © 2018 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc


Although research on mate preferences has been built on the assumption that the criteria people report at one point in time should predict their future partnering behavior, little is known about the temporal stability of people’s standards. Using survey data collected at four time points from 285 originally unmarried individuals, this study examined the rank-order, meanlevel, individual-level and ipsative stability of people’s mate criteria over 27 months. Overall, reported standards exhibited moderate to high baseline stability, with rank-order and ipsative estimates comparable to those reported for personality traits. At the same time, mean- and individual-level analyses revealed small, but significant, increases in participants’ reported criteria over the study, as well as significant variability in individual trajectories. Consistent with theory, the stability of individuals’ standards was moderated by several contextual factors, including age, changes in perceived mate value, and significant relationship events.