Archive for the ‘relationships’ Category

Sex differences in relationship regret: The role of perceived mate characteristics

August 10, 2012 Comments off

Sex differences in relationship regret: The role of perceived mate characteristics

Source: Evolutionary Psychology

The current set of studies examined regret involving action and inaction in the realm of romantic relationships by testing whether such regret is associated with the characteristics of one’s mate. In study 1, 394 participants reported on a previous casual sexual encounter, and in study 2, 358 participants reported on a previous romantic relationship. In both, instances of actual engagement and instances of passing up opportunities were studied. Study 3 was experimental and elicited reactions to hypothetical scenarios from 201 participants. Regret reported by men in both study 1 and study 2 varied as a function of the perceived attractiveness of the participants’ actual and potential mate. Regret reported by women in study 2 varied as a function of the perceived stinginess of the participant’s mate and perceived wealth of the participants’ potential mate. Study 3 found that sex differences in type of regret (with men regretting inaction more than women) occurred only when the mate presented in the scenario was described in ways consistent with mate preferences. Together these findings suggest that regret differs between the sexes in ways consistent with sex differences in mate preferences.

Cohabitation and U.S. Adult Mortality: An Examination by Gender and Race

July 18, 2012 Comments off

Cohabitation and U.S. Adult Mortality: An Examination by Gender and Race (PDF)

Source: Journal of Marriage and Family

From press release (Michigan State University):

Black people who are married don’t appear to live any longer than black couples who simply live together, suggesting marriage doesn’t boost longevity for blacks the way it does for whites, according to a large national study led by Michigan State University.

“This finding implies that marriage and cohabitation have very different meanings for blacks and whites,” said MSU sociologist Hui Liu, the study’s lead researcher.

The study, in the Journal of Marriage and Family, is the first to document mortality differences between cohabiters and married people across racial groups in the United States.

The number of Americans who cohabitate (live together without being married) has increased dramatically in the past 50 years – from 400,000 in 1960 to 7.6 million in 2011, census data shows.

Liu and Corinne Reczek of the University of Cincinnati studied national health survey data of nearly 200,000 people taken from 1997 to 2004. They found that white people who were married had lower mortality rates than whites who simply lived together.

However, there were no significant mortality differences between blacks who were married and blacks who cohabitated.

Liu said whites are more likely to see cohabitation as a trial marriage, which may mean lower levels of shared social, psychological and economic resources.

In contrast, among blacks cohabitation is more prevalent and is perceived as an alternative to marriage, meaning it may mirror the dynamics of marriage and promote health like marriage tends to do, Liu said.

In addition, because blacks tend to earn less money than whites, marriage may not confer the same degree of social and economic benefits for blacks as for whites, Liu said.

It’s Not Just Lunch: Extra-Pair Commensality Can Trigger Sexual Jealousy

July 12, 2012 Comments off

It’s Not Just Lunch: Extra-Pair Commensality Can Trigger Sexual Jealousy

Source: PLoS ONE

Do people believe that sharing food might involve sharing more than just food? To investigate this, participants were asked to rate how jealous they (Study 1) – or their best friend (Study 2) – would be if their current romantic partner were contacted by an ex-romantic partner and subsequently engaged in an array of food- and drink-based activities. We consistently find – across both men and women – that meals elicit more jealousy than face-to-face interactions that do not involve eating, such as having coffee. These findings suggest that people generally presume that sharing a meal enhances cooperation. In the context of romantic pairs, we find that participants are attuned to relationship risks that extra-pair commensality can present. For romantic partners left out of a meal, we find a common view that lunch, for example, is not “just lunch.”

See: It’s not just lunch (EurekAlert!)

Domestic Work and Psychological Distress-What Is the Importance of Relative Socioeconomic Position and Gender Inequality in the Couple Relationship?

June 14, 2012 Comments off

Domestic Work and Psychological Distress−What Is the Importance of Relative Socioeconomic Position and Gender Inequality in the Couple Relationship?

Source: PLoS ONE


The aim of this study was to investigate whether the relation between responsibility for domestic work and psychological distress was influenced by perception of gender inequality in the couple relationship and relative socioeconomic position.


In the Northern Swedish Cohort, all pupils who studied in the last year of compulsory school in a northern Swedish town in 1981 have been followed regularly until 2007. In this study, participants living with children were selected (n = 371 women, 352 men). The importance of relative socioeconomic position and perception of gender inequality in the couple relationship in combination with domestic work for psychological distress was examined through logistic regression analysis.


Two combinations of variables including socioeconomic position (‘having less than half of the responsibility for domestic work and partner higher socioeconomic position’ and ‘having more than half the responsibility for domestic work and equal socioeconomic position’) were related to psychological distress. There were also higher ORs for psychological distress for the combinations of having ‘less than half of the responsibility for domestic work and gender-unequal couple relationship’ and ‘more than half the responsibility for domestic work and gender-unequal couple relationship’. Having a lower socioeconomic position than the partner was associated with higher ORs for psychological distress among men.


This study showed that domestic work is a highly gendered activity as women tend to have a greater and men a smaller responsibility. Both these directions of inequality in domestic work, in combination with experiencing the couple relationship as gender-unequal, were associated with psychological distress There is a need for more research with a relational approach on inequalities in health in order to capture the power relations within couples in various settings.

Screening Women for Intimate Partner Violence: A Systematic Review to Update the 2004 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation

May 16, 2012 Comments off
Background:In 2004, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force determined that evidence was insufficient to support screening women for intimate partner violence (IPV).

Purpose:To review new evidence on the effectiveness of screening and interventions for women in health care settings in reducing IPV and related health outcomes, the diagnostic accuracy of screening instruments, and adverse effects of screening and interventions.

Data Sources:MEDLINE and PsycINFO (January 2002 to January 2012), Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials and Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (through fourth quarter 2011), Scopus, and reference lists.

Study Selection:English-language trials of the effectiveness of screening and interventions, diagnostic accuracy studies of screening instruments, and studies of any design about adverse effects.

Data Extraction:Investigators extracted data about study populations, designs, and outcomes, and rated study quality by using established criteria.

Data Synthesis:A large fair-quality trial of screening versus usual care indicated improved IPV and health outcomes for both groups, but no statistically significant differences between groups. Fifteen fair- and good-quality studies evaluated 13 screening instruments, and six instruments were highly accurate. Four fair- and goodquality trials of counseling reported reduced IPV and improved birth outcomes for pregnant women, reduced IPV for new mothers, and reduced pregnancy coercion and unsafe relationships for women in family-planning clinics. Fourteen studies indicated minimal adverse effects with screening, but some women experienced discomfort, loss of privacy, emotional distress, and concerns about further abuse.

Limitation:Trials were limited by heterogeneity, lack of true control groups, high loss to follow-up, self-reported measures, and lack of accepted reference standards.

Conclusion:Screening instruments accurately identify women experiencing IPV. Screening women for IPV can provide benefits that vary by population, while potential adverse effects have minimal impact on most women.

Primary Funding Source:Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Sex Differences in Intimate Relationships

May 7, 2012 Comments off

Sex Differences in Intimate Relationships
Source:  Scientific Reports

Social networks based on dyadic relationships are fundamentally important for understanding of human sociality. However, we have little understanding of the dynamics of close relationships and how these change over time. Evolutionary theory suggests that, even in monogamous mating systems, the pattern of investment in close relationships should vary across the lifespan when post-weaning investment plays an important role in maximising fitness. Mobile phone data sets provide a unique window into the structure and dynamics of relationships. We here use data from a large mobile phone dataset to demonstrate striking sex differences in the gender-bias of preferred relationships that reflect the way the reproductive investment strategies of both sexes change across the lifespan, i.e. women’s shifting patterns of investment in reproduction and parental care. These results suggest that human social strategies may have more complex dynamics than previously assumed and a life-history perspective is crucial for understanding them.

See: A Woman’s Intense Interest in Her Partner Shifts When Grandchildren Arrive (Science Daily)

United Nations World Youth Report

April 30, 2012 Comments off
Source:  United Nations
Chapter I introduces the status of young people in the labour market and youth employment trends. It provides a snapshot of key youth employment-related demographics, highlighting the critical role of youth employment in social development. The chapter also considers positive and negative trends across countries in various stages of development to illustrate the state of youth employment world-wide.
Chapter II explores education, as the foundation for working life, with focus on views regarding educational quality and utility. Vocational education, life skills and entrepreneurship are highlighted. The chapter examines what some schools are doing, and what more can be done, to help young people transition to work. It considers ways for educational systems to be more responsive to the changing needs of economies and societies, and labour markets in particular. It also looks at ways in which young people may hold policymakers and decision-makers accountable for fulfilling the right to quality education.
Chapter III focuses on the transition of young people into work, particularly the search for a first job. It examines the availability among youth of information on labour markets and job seeking, and explores various mechanisms and tools to inform and advise young people, from networking to subsidized employment programmes. The chapter also looks into potential emerging areas of opportunity for young people.
Chapter IV explores the quality and conditions of jobs held by youth, and how young people’s working situation interacts with their family and home lives. It addresses high rates among youth of underemployment, participation in the informal economy, vulnerable employment, wages and working conditions. The chapter also examines how a lack of decent work opportunities can influence family life, social processes such as marriage and fertility, as well as health and well-being.

UK — Call to End Violence Against Women and Girls

April 30, 2012 Comments off
Source:  Home Office
There were over 1 million female victims of domestic abuse in England and Wales in the last year. Over 300,000 women are sexually assaulted and 60,000 women are raped each year. Overall in the UK, more than one in four women will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime, often with years of psychological abuse, Worldwide violence against women and girls can be a problem of pandemic proportions. This is unacceptable.
The vast majority of these violent acts are perpetrated by men on women. In 2009/10, women were the victim of over seven out of ten (73%) incidents of domestic violence. More than one third (36%) of all rapes recorded by the police are committed against children under 16 years of age. This is unacceptable.
Internationally, findings in a number of developing countries suggest that violence against women and girls is significant and is often endemic. Between 40% and 60% of women surveyed in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Peru, Samoa, Thailand and Tanzania said that they had been physically and/ or sexually abused by their close partners. This is unacceptable.

Exploitative male mating strategies: Personality, mating orientation, and relationship status

April 29, 2012 Comments off

Exploitative male mating strategies: Personality, mating orientation, and relationship status (PDF)
Source: Personality and Individual Differences

Previous research suggests men are sexually attracted to women displaying cues to sexual exploitability. During human evolutionary history, men’s agreeableness, orientation towards casual sex, and relation- ship status may have been recurrently associated with greater net benefits of pursuing a sexually exploit- ative strategy. We hypothesized these three individual differences would predict men’s perceptions of women’s sexual exploitability. Seventy-two men viewed photographs of women and rated their sexual exploitability. Men’s agreeableness, sociosexual orientation, and current relationship status interacted to predict their perceptions of women’s sexual exploitability; among unmated men, the combination of low agreeableness and an orientation toward uncommitted sex was associated with higher perceptions of women’s sexual exploitability. This suggests mechanisms motivating sexually exploitative strategies may depend on an interaction between personality characteristics and situational variables.

Avoiding entangling commitments: Tactics for implementing a short-term mating strategy

April 21, 2012 Comments off

Avoiding entangling commitments: Tactics for implementing a short-term mating strategy (PDF)
Source: Personality and Individual Differences

The successful pursuit of a short-term mating strategy requires avoiding entangling commitments or unwanted, encumbering relationships. Two studies, based on an act-nomination and reported act perfor- mance methodologies, were conducted on samples of American college students to explore how individ- uals avoid entangling commitments. In Study 1 (N = 102) we identified the acts individuals use to avoid entangling commitments in the context of short-term mating. In Study 2 (N = 298) we examined reported usage of these tactics, and identified correlations with personality traits previously implicated in the pur- suit of a short-term mating strategy (e.g., narcissism, mate-value). Personality traits such as the Dark Triad and sociosexuality, as well as mate-value, were positively correlated with tactics used to avoid entangling commitments. Results document how short-term mating strategists solve the problem of avoiding entangling commitments, reveal sex differences previously undiscovered, and highlight personality characteristics linked to solving this adaptive problem. (2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.)

Child Protection Audits Find Nearly All Dioceses Compliant

April 16, 2012 Comments off
Source:  U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
The 2011 Annual Report on the implementation of the Charter for Protection of Children and Young People reports that nearly all dioceses in the country are totally compliant with the 17-point Charter.
It also notes that, as in previous years, the Diocese of Baker, Oregon, and Lincoln, Nebraska, and six eparchies (Eastern rite dioceses) refused to participate in the audits and therefore are found non-compliant.
The report notes that most allegations reported today are of incidents from previous decades. For example, 68 percent of allegations made in 2011, were of incidents from 1960-1984, and the most common time period for allegations was 1975-1979. It also found most of the accused have died or been removed from ministry and many had been accused previously.
Three percent (or 21) of the allegations noted in the 2011 report came from current minors.
“Of the 21 allegations made by minors, seven were considered credible by law enforcement; three were determined to be false, five were determined to be boundary violations, and three are still under investigation,” the report said. The credibility of three allegations could not be determined.
In the same period, “683 adults who were victims/survivors of abuse in the past came forward to report on allegations for the first time.”

Full Report (PDF)

The Misperception of Sexual Interest

April 12, 2012 Comments off

The Misperception of Sexual Interest (PDF)
Source: Psychological Science

In the current study (N = 199), we utilized a speed-meeting methodology to investigate misperceptions of sexual interest. This method allowed us to evaluate the magnitude of men’s overperception of women’s sexual interest, to examine whether and how women misperceive men’s sexual interest, and to assess individual differences in susceptibility to sexual misperception. We found strong support for the prediction that women would underestimate men’s sexual interest. Men who were more oriented toward short-term mating strategies or who rated themselves more attractive were more likely to overperceive women’s sexual interest. The magnitude of men’s overperception of women’s sexual interest was predicted by the women’s physical attractiveness. We discuss implications of gender differences and within-sex individual differences in susceptibility to sexual misperception.

Between-sex differences in romantic jealousy: Substance or spin? A qualitative analysis

April 11, 2012 Comments off
Source:  Evolutionary Psychology
An influential evolutionary account of romantic jealousy proposes that natural selection shaped a specific sexually-dimorphic psychological mechanism in response to relationship threat. However, this account has faced considerable theoretical and methodological criticism and it remains unclear whether putative sex differences in romantic jealousy actually exist and, if they do, whether they are consistent with its predictions. Given the multidimensional nature of romantic jealousy, the current study employed a qualitative design to examine these issues. We report the results of sixteen semi-structured interviews that were conducted with heterosexual men and women with the purpose of exploring the emotions, cognitions and behaviors that formed their subjective, lived experience in response to relationship threat. Interpretative phenomenological analysis revealed four super-ordinate themes (“threat appraisal”, “emotional episodes”, “sex-specific threat” and “forgive and forget”) and unequivocal sex differences in romantic jealousy consistent with the evolutionary account. Self-esteem, particularly when conceptualized as an index of mate value, emerged as an important proximal mediator for both sexes. However, specific outcomes were dependent upon domains central to the individual’s self concept that were primarily sex-specific. The findings are integrated within the context of existing self-esteem and evolutionary theory and future directions for romantic jealousy research are suggested.

+ Full Paper (PDF)

Australian Social Trends — March 2012

March 30, 2012 Comments off

Australian Social Trends — March 2012
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics
+ Life on ‘Struggle Street’: Australians in low economic resource households
This article looks at the characteristics of people in households with both relatively low income and relatively low wealth.
+ Love Me Do
This article examines the trends in marriage, de facto relationships and divorce over the last twenty years.
+ Life after Homelessness
This article presents a comparison of people who have been homeless in the last 10 years with those who have never been homeless.
+ Disability and Work
This article looks at the characteristics of working-age people with disability and their involvement in the labour force.

The Online Romance Scam: A Serious Cybercrime

March 29, 2012 Comments off

The Online Romance Scam: A Serious Cybercrime
Source: Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking

The Online Romance Scam is a relatively new form of fraud that became apparent in about 2008. In this crime, criminals pretend to initiate a relationship through online dating sites then defraud their victims of large sums of money. This paper presents some descriptive statistics about knowledge and victimization of the online dating romance scam in Great Britain. Our study found that despite its newness, an estimated 230,000 British citizens may have fallen victim to this crime. We conclude that there needs to be some rethinking about providing avenues for victims to report the crime or at least making them more comfortable when doing so.

See: Online Dating Scammers Looking for Money, Not Love

The Evolution of Stalking

March 15, 2012 Comments off

The Evolution of Stalking (PDF)
Source: Sex Roles

We propose that stalking tactics have been shaped by evolutionary processes to help solve mating problems. These include: (1) acquiring new mates, (2) guarding existing mates to prevent defection, (3) fending off mate poachers, (4) poaching someone else’s mate, (5) interfering with intrasexual competitors, (6) reacquiring ex-mates, (7) sexual exploitation and predation, and (8) guarding kin from sexual exploitation. We hypothesize several, gender-differentiated design features of psychological adaptations, including sensitivity to adaptive problems for which stalking was an ancestral solution and cognitive biases that function to motivate and perpetuate stalking behaviors. Although often abhorrent, cost-inflicting, and illegal, stalking sometimes enables successful adaptive solutions to problems of mating and within-gender competition faced by both men and women.

Not Just a Wink and Smile: An Analysis of User-Defined Success in Online Dating

January 12, 2012 Comments off
Source:  Drexel University iSchool
This study examines the publically available stories of self-identified successful couples that met using the online dating services, eHarmony, or OkCupid. We enumerate four main findings; 1) the distribution of relationship status (Dating, Engaged, Married) varies among websites, 2) approximately half of all stories explicitly thank the service they used, 3) the locations of successful couples from and eHarmony are not statistically different when analyzed at a regional level, and 4) while the distribution of these couples follows general population trends, there are low population density islands where many self-identified successful couples live. These findings, coupled with a review of the existing literature, establish the context for future research into the technological and societal contexts in which online dating exists. This research has broad impacts of informing the design and development of online dating websites and other information and communication technologies (ICTs) such as social networking sites.

Children’s Exposure to Intimate Partner Violence and Other Family Violence

November 4, 2011 Comments off

Children’s Exposure to Intimate Partner Violence and Other Family Violence (PDF)
Source: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention

This bulletin discusses the data on exposure to family violence in the National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence (NatSCEV), the most comprehensive nationwide survey of the incidence and prevalence of children’s exposure to violence to date, sponsored by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

More than 1 in 9 (11 percent) were exposed to some form of family violence in the past year, including 1 in 15 (6.6 percent) exposed to IPV between parents (or between a parent and that parent’s partner). One in four children (26 percent) were exposed to at least one form of family violence during their lifetimes. Most youth exposed to family violence, including 90 percent of those exposed to IPV, saw the violence, as opposed to hearing it or other indirect forms of exposure. Males were more likely to perpetrate incidents that were witnessed than females, with 68 percent of youth witnessing only violence by males. Father figures were the most common perpetrators of family violence, although assaults by mothers and other caregivers were also common.

Me, My Spouse and the Internet; A Global Shift in the Social Relationships of Networked Individuals: Meeting and Dating Online Comes of Age

October 27, 2011 Comments off

Me, My Spouse and the Internet; A Global Shift in the Social Relationships of Networked Individuals: Meeting and Dating Online Comes of Age
Source: Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford

This paper reports on an analysis of original data from a cross-national survey in 18 countries of couples and their social relationships. The survey focused on cohabiting couples, who have the Internet at home. Each member of each couple was asked how they met their partners, what dating strategies they used before they met, how they maintain their current relationships and social networks, and how these individuals use the Internet in everyday life and work. The survey was conducted online, using a professional pool of respondents to draw our samples. There is wide variety across the world and within nations, such as in approaches to online relationships, to friendships, and to the Internet. However, several general patterns are clear. First, slightly over a third of the sample has some experience with online dating, while 15 percent are currently in a relationship that started online. Beginning in 1997, coinciding with the rise of Web 2.0 technologies, online dating starts to gain prominence. This rise in prominence continues until 2009, when over 30 percent of Internet-enabled couples appear to have met through online dating. A similar growing prominence of the Internet is also occurring around the maintenance of relationships, and the development of social relations more generally. In these and other ways, it is clear that the Internet has become a new place to look for relationships, and that the Internet is important for strong as well as weak ties within social networks.

Promiscuous mating produces offspring with higher lifetime fitness

September 3, 2011 Comments off

Promiscuous mating produces offspring with higher lifetime fitness (PDF)
Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

In many species, each female pairs with a single male for the purpose of rearing offspring, but may also engage in extra-pair copulations. Despite the prevalence of such promiscuity, whether and how multiple mating benefits females remains an open question. Multiple mating is typically thought to be favoured primarily through indirect benefits (i.e. heritable effects on the fitness of offspring). This prediction has been repeatedly tested in a variety of species, but the evidence has been equivocal, perhaps because such studies have focused on pre-reproductive survival rather than lifetime fitness of offspring. Here, we show that in a songbird, the dark-eyed junco (Junco hyemalis), both male and female offspring produced by extra-pair fertilizations have higher lifetime reproductive success than do offspring sired within the social pair. Furthermore, adult male offspring sired via extra-pair matings are more likely to sire extra-pair offspring (EPO) themselves, suggesting that fitness benefits to males accrue primarily through enhanced mating success. By contrast, female EPO benefited primarily through enhanced fecundity. Our results provide strong support for the hypothesis that the evolution of extra-pair mating by females is favoured by indirect benefits and shows that such benefits accrue much later in the offspring’s life than previously documented.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 363 other followers