Mating Issues

Kevin Lewis

February 04, 2024

Sibling competition and dispersal drive sex differences in religious celibacy
Alberto Micheletti & Ruth Mace
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Religious practices vary greatly worldwide. Lifelong celibacy is present in many world religions, but it remains unclear why the frequency of monks and nuns (male and female celibates) varies at different times and places. Here, we develop a two-sex inclusive fitness model of lifelong celibacy. We find that the sex that competes more over parental resources is favoured to have more celibates, that is more monks than nuns are expected when brother-brother competition is higher than sister-sister competition. Moreover, the extent to which brothers and sisters compete over the same parental resources influences these patterns: intermediate sibling competition leads to more extreme differences in the proportion of monks and nuns. The sex that disperses less is also favoured to have more celibates. We show how our model can explain variation in the frequency of monks and nuns in three populations that differ in post-marital residence, marriage systems and inheritance rules.

Phone presence and relationship quality: Examining the role of emotion accuracy and bias
Jennifer Heyman & Lauren Human
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, forthcoming

Does phone presence during romantic couple conversations influence the accuracy and bias of emotion perceptions? This two-part study examined whether phone presence – experimentally-manipulated in the lab (Part 1: N = 383) and assessed naturalistically in daily diaries (Part 2: N = 342) – relates to emotion perceptions, and, in turn, relationship quality. In Part 1, participants randomly assigned to have their phone present (vs. absent) with their romantic partner exhibited more positive emotion perceptions, indirectly contributing to greater relationship quality. In Part 2, on days when participants reported having their phone present with their romantic partner, they exhibited greater assumed similarity, indirectly contributing to greater relationship quality. Overall, phone presence when with a romantic partner may be beneficial, as it could contribute to more biased partner impressions and, in turn, greater relationship quality.

How relationship satisfaction changes within and across romantic relationships: Evidence from a large longitudinal study
Janina Larissa Bühler & Ulrich Orth
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Research suggests that relationship satisfaction changes in systematic ways over the course of a relationship. In this preregistered study, we tested whether relationship satisfaction changes differently as a function of the eventual outcome of the relationship, that is, whether the relationship lasted, whether it was dissolved, and whether people began a new relationship after separation. Data came from a large longitudinal study (the Longitudinal Study of Generations), including 2,268 participants aged 16–90 years, who were assessed at up to seven waves across 20 years. We used multilevel models to examine change in relationship satisfaction within relationships (i.e., comparing continuing and dissolving relationships) and across relationships (i.e., comparing consecutive relationships of the same persons). The results indicated that satisfaction in dissolving (vs. continuing) relationships was lower and showed a more pronounced decrease over the course of the relationship. Individuals who began a new relationship after separation were more satisfied at the beginning of the new relationship compared to the beginning of the previous relationship. However, satisfaction declined within both relationships (i.e., the previous and the new relationship). Moderator analyses indicated that relationship satisfaction decreased more strongly when participants had children, were in a dissolving relationship of briefer duration, and when the time lag between the previous and current relationship had been shorter. Overall, the findings contribute to understanding change in satisfaction within and across relationships. The Discussion addresses the possibility that couples tend to separate when relationship satisfaction falls below a critical value.

Mate preference dissimilarity predicts friendship attraction at zero-acquaintance for men, not women
Kelly Campbell et al.
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, forthcoming

We hypothesized that dissimilar mate preferences would augment friendship attraction in zero-acquaintance interactions whereas similar mate preferences would hinder friendship attraction. Heterosexual participants completed an online survey to assess their mate preferences. They also rated the attractiveness of opposite-sex photos. Next, they attended a 3-hr speed-friending session in which they interacted with same-sex others for 3-min each. After each interaction, they completed a 2-min assessment about the person they just met. Two sessions were held, one for women (N = 20) and one for men (N = 18). The social relations model was used to regress unique feelings of friendship attraction on similarity in terms of mate preferences while controlling for perceiver and target variance. Our hypothesis was supported among men: Interactions in which two people differed in mate preferences were rated more positively than those in which participants had similar mate preferences. These results are consistent with Parental Investment Theory and highlight the importance of mate preferences in friendship attraction among men.


Associations Between Forced Intercourse and Subsequent Depression Among Women in the U.S. General Population
Ronny Bruffaerts & William Axinn
Archives of Sexual Behavior, forthcoming

Forced intercourse is a high prevalence experience among US women, with high potential to produce subsequent major depressive episodes (MDE). However, the extent to which prior risk factors are associated with the timing of both sexual assault experiences and subsequent MDE onset is not known. The aim of this study was to document the associations between childhood depression, subsequent forced intercourse, and later MDE. We used retrospective information on childhood depression, forced intercourse, and MDE after forced intercourse from female respondents in the nationally representative 2017 US Panel Study of Income Dynamics-Transition to Adulthood Supplement (PSID-TAS, N = 1298, response rate: 87%). Multivariable logistic regression estimated these associations, controlling for age, race, poverty, religiosity, family history of depression, and adverse childhood experiences (such as parental physical abuse or parental violence). Women who experienced childhood depression (prevalence: 15%) had 2.57 times the odds of experiencing forced intercourse after depression onset, even after adjusting for these other risk factors. However, even though childhood depression is a powerful risk factor for later MDE, independent of that women who experienced forced intercourse had 2.28 times the odds of experiencing MDE after the occurrence of forced intercourse, adjusting for childhood depression and other risk factors. This study provided the first clear evidence for time-ordered associations between forced intercourse and subsequent MDE among women in the general population.


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