Why You? Why Me? The Influence of Resilience and Perceived Barriers on Mate Selection

Esther Mendez, Tennessee State University


Recent research suggested that women are shifting their needs in a potential partner, from previously desiring instrumental qualities to desiring expressive qualities (O’Reilly, Knox & Zusman, 2009). Reasons for this shift include social and cultural changes that have been linked to WWII and the Women’s Movement. However, other research has shown this trend is not reflected within the African American population (King & Allen, 2009). Several studies have identified socioeconomic status, education level, and mate availability as the assumed influential factors for the minority population desiring instrumental characteristics over expressive characteristics in their ideal mate (Catanzarite & Ortiz, 2002; King, 1999; King & Allen, 2009; Tucker & Mitchell-Kernan, 1995). However, these factors have been discussed in order to justify the differences in the trend of characteristic preferences rather than to confirm their influence on mate selection. Moreover, there is an overall lack of research on preferences in characteristics within the minority population (i.e. African American, Hispanic, and Asian). As such, this study focused on increasing awareness of preferred qualities in under-researched populations. This study also focused on exploring whether the assumed influential factors do, in fact, have an effect on the found heightened desire of instrumental versus expressive qualities in their ideal partner within the minority population. Lastly, due to numerous research on the influence and moderating effects resilience has on other barriers minority experience (i.e., Goklani, 2013; Hartley, 2011; Ong, Bergeman, Bisconti, & Wallace, 2006), this study focused on exploring whether resilience has an influence on desired characteristics as well as whether resilience could be considered a moderating factor to desired characteristics. Data was collected from 287 female heterosexual participants within the southeast region. The analyses showed (1) Hispanic and African American women preferred instrumental qualities over expressive when compared to Caucasian women, (2) level of education and mate availability play a significant role in characteristic preferences, and (3) level of resilience does influence characteristic preferences but was not proven to be a moderating factor. In providing information on under-research populations, this study contributed to future research on similar topics while also contributing to increasing multicultural competence.

Subject Area

Womens studies|Counseling Psychology

Recommended Citation

Esther Mendez, "Why You? Why Me? The Influence of Resilience and Perceived Barriers on Mate Selection" (2017). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI10607785.