Contemporary Dating Experiences through an Attachment Lens

Rheanna Kaley, Tennessee State University


The purpose of this study was to examine contemporary dating experiences through an attachment framework using a mixed methodological research design. The aim was to gather data from a diverse population of single adults in order to find common themes in experience. To examine dating experiences, the researcher specifically measured dating expectations, motivations, relationship outcomes, descriptions, and attachment orientations. The study was sent to universities throughout the United States and was also accessible via social media platforms. Participants completed self-report questionnaires, provided short answers, and had the opportunity to participate in a follow up interview to gather more details regarding their dating experiences. In the quantitative phase of the study, it was found that romantic expectations, dating motivations, relationship outcomes, significantly differed by attachment style. In the qualitative phase of the study, it found the common themes of investment and commitment regarding dating experiences among heterosexual, White, males and females. The qualitative phase also yielded common themes related to dating strategies, specifically both genders expressed common strategies related to self-presentation. For male dating strategies, financial resource stressors were found to be the most salient. For females, dating strategies related to physical appearance and safety were the most salient. The results from each phase were discussed, and limitations and implications for future research were explored.

Subject Area

Counseling Psychology|Social psychology

Recommended Citation

Rheanna Kaley, "Contemporary Dating Experiences through an Attachment Lens" (2020). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI28024877.