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The challenge of starting and keeping a relationship: Prevalence rates and predictors of poor mating performance

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Abstract

There are reasons to believe that the mechanisms involved in mating, evolved in a context where marriages were arranged and male-male competition was strong. Thus, they may not work well in a post-industrial context, where mating is not regulated and where male-male competition is weak. As a consequence of the mismatch between ancestral and modern conditions, several individuals may face difficulties in the domain of mating. This study aimed to estimate the prevalence rates of poor mating performance and to identify some of its predictors. In particular, evidence from 1894 Greek and Greek-Cypriot participants from three independent studies, indicated that about one in five individuals found intimate relationships difficult, about one in two experienced difficulties in either starting or keeping a relationship, and about one in five experienced difficulties in both starting and keeping a relationship. Moreover, it was found that sexual functioning, self-esteem, self-perceived mate value, choosiness, personality, attention to looks, and mating effort were significant predictors of poor mating performance. It was also found that men and women closely overlapped in their mating performance, while age did not predict how well people do in the domain of mating.

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... Узорак коришћен у истраживању је пригодан и сачињавају га 387 испитаника, од чега је 82,7% испитаника женског пола старости од 18 до 40 (AS=23,90; SD=4,22). Од инструмената коришћени су: Упитник за мерење уложеног напора у налажење партнера (Apostolou et al., 2018), Упитник за мерење избирљивости при тражењу партнера (Apostolou et al., 2018), Упитник за мерење успешности у налажењу партнера (Apostolou et al., 2018), Упитник за процењивање тенденција праштања (McCullough, Root & Cohen, 2006) и Упитник за процењивање партнерске афективне везаности (Brenan, Clark & Shaver, 1995). Добијени резултати показују да недовољно труда у процесу налажења партнера није директно повезано са избегавањем, већ се та веза у овом случају остварује посредно преко стратегије избегавања праштања (ab=-,043, [-,077, -,017]). ...
... Узорак коришћен у истраживању је пригодан и сачињавају га 387 испитаника, од чега је 82,7% испитаника женског пола старости од 18 до 40 (AS=23,90; SD=4,22). Од инструмената коришћени су: Упитник за мерење уложеног напора у налажење партнера (Apostolou et al., 2018), Упитник за мерење избирљивости при тражењу партнера (Apostolou et al., 2018), Упитник за мерење успешности у налажењу партнера (Apostolou et al., 2018), Упитник за процењивање тенденција праштања (McCullough, Root & Cohen, 2006) и Упитник за процењивање партнерске афективне везаности (Brenan, Clark & Shaver, 1995). Добијени резултати показују да недовољно труда у процесу налажења партнера није директно повезано са избегавањем, већ се та веза у овом случају остварује посредно преко стратегије избегавања праштања (ab=-,043, [-,077, -,017]). ...
... Узорак коришћен у истраживању је пригодан и сачињавају га 387 испитаника, од чега је 82,7% испитаника женског пола старости од 18 до 40 (AS=23,90; SD=4,22). Од инструмената коришћени су: Упитник за мерење уложеног напора у налажење партнера (Apostolou et al., 2018), Упитник за мерење избирљивости при тражењу партнера (Apostolou et al., 2018), Упитник за мерење успешности у налажењу партнера (Apostolou et al., 2018), Упитник за процењивање тенденција праштања (McCullough, Root & Cohen, 2006) и Упитник за процењивање партнерске афективне везаности (Brenan, Clark & Shaver, 1995). Добијени резултати показују да недовољно труда у процесу налажења партнера није директно повезано са избегавањем, већ се та веза у овом случају остварује посредно преко стратегије избегавања праштања (ab=-,043, [-,077, -,017]). ...
Article
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A successful partnership implies one's ability to attract and retain a partner. Readiness to forgive contributes to the renewal and improvement of broken relationships, while an attachment style plays an important role in the formation of internal 'working models' that serve as 'guidelines' for the formation of new relationships. The goal of this study was to investigate whether there is a connection between attachment and success in maintaining a partnership, and if so, whether that relationship is direct or mediated by the capacity to forgive. Based on the results obtained with the Mediation Analysis with Multiple Mediators, we found that insuffcient effort in the process of finding a partner is not directly associated with Avoidance, i.e., the negative working model of others; this connection is created indirectly through the strategy to avoid forgiveness. The sample used in this study is representative and included 387 participants, 82,7% of which were female participants between 18 and 40 years of age (AS = 23,90; SD = 4,22). The instruments used were the Mating Effort Scale (Apostolou et al., 2018), Partner Selectivity Scale (Apostolou et al., 2018), the Scale for Success in Finding a Partner (Apostolou et al., 2018), the Tendency to Forgive Scale (McCullough, Root, & Cohen, 2006), Affective Partner Attachment Scale (Brennan, Clark & Shaver, 1995). The results obtained indicate that insufficient effort in the process of finding a partner is not directly associated with Avoidance; this connection is created indirectly through the strategy to avoid forgiveness (ab=-,043, [-,077, -,017]). As for the connection between Effort and Anxiety, it is mediated by the Revenge dimension (ab = -,051, [-,080, -,026]). Forgiveness avoidance has been shown to be a statistically significant mediator in the relationship between Failure to Find a Partner and Avoidance (ab = -,029, [-,052, -,010]). All obtained mediations are partial. This research shows that success in maintaining a relationship, selectivity when looking for a partner and the effort invested to start and maintain a relationship are closely associated with a person's emotional development: his/her vision of him/ herself, vision of others and emotional capacity developed through life, such as the tendency to forgive. The findings of this research would be much more valuable if the research was conducted on both partners in a certain relationship and if the situation related to forgiveness was kept under control, which is a recommendation for other studies.
... A considerable proportion of people living in Western societies experience poor mating performance, meaning that they face difficulties in starting and/or keeping an intimate relationship (Apostolou, Shialos, Kyrou, Demetriou, & Papamichael, 2018). Recent research has identified several predictors of poor mating performance, including sexual functioning, self-esteem, personality (i.e., extroversion, conscientiousness, and neuroticism), and jealousy (Apostolou et al., 2018;Apostolou, Paphiti, Neza, Damianou, & Georgiadou, 2019). ...
... A considerable proportion of people living in Western societies experience poor mating performance, meaning that they face difficulties in starting and/or keeping an intimate relationship (Apostolou, Shialos, Kyrou, Demetriou, & Papamichael, 2018). Recent research has identified several predictors of poor mating performance, including sexual functioning, self-esteem, personality (i.e., extroversion, conscientiousness, and neuroticism), and jealousy (Apostolou et al., 2018;Apostolou, Paphiti, Neza, Damianou, & Georgiadou, 2019). The current study contributes to this line of work by testing the predictions that poor flirting skills, poor mate signal-detection ability, and high shyness would predict poor performance in mating. ...
... On the basis of this theoretical framework, it has been predicted that several mechanisms involved in mating exhibit nonoptimal variation affecting mating performance, including mechanisms that regulate sexual functioning, personality traits, flirting skills, mating effort, and attention to looks (Apostolou, 2015;Apostolou et al., 2018, Apostolou, Paphiti, et al., 2019. One study found that, nearly one in two individuals experienced difficulties in either starting or keeping a relationship, with their mating performance being predicted by their level of sexual functioning, self-esteem, selfperceived mate value, pickiness, personality, attention to looks, and mating effort (Apostolou et al., 2018). ...
Article
Full-text available
Several people today experience poor mating performance, that is, they face difficulties in starting and/or keeping an intimate relationship. On the basis of an evolutionary theoretical framework, it was hypothesized that poor mating performance would be predicted by poor flirting skills, poor mate signal-detection ability, and high shyness. By employing a sample of 587 Greek-speaking men and women, we found that more than 40% of our participants experienced difficulties in starting and/or keeping an intimate relationship. We also found that poor flirting skills, poor mate signal-detection ability, and high shyness were associated with poor performance in mating, especially with respect to starting an intimate relationship. The effect sizes and the odds ratios indicated that flirting skills had the largest effect on mating performance, followed by the mate signal-detection ability and shyness.
... For instance, clues of actual or suspected infidelity can trigger jealousy, which can lead to the punishment of the culprit or the termination of the relationship (Buss, 2017). Recent studies have found that many adult individuals faced considerable difficulties in attracting and retaining mates (Apostolou, Shialos, Kyrou, Demetriou, & Papamichael, 2018). Poor performance is expected to be associated with a high emotional cost, and the purpose of the current research is to estimate this cost. ...
... Accordingly, we would expect that strong selection pressures would be exercised on people to evolve mechanisms that would enable them to be effective in attracting and retaining mates; yet, a large number of people experience severe difficulties in doing so. For instance, three independent studies which employed Greek-speaking participants, found that nearly one in two faced difficulties in attracting or retaining mates (Apostolou, Papadopoulou, & Georgiadou, 2018;Apostolou, Shialos, et al., 2018). Moreover, two different studies found that, about one in two singles in the Greek-cultural context, were involuntary so: They wanted to be in a relationship but they faced difficulties in doing so (Apostolou, Papadopoulou, et al., 2018). ...
... More specifically, it has been proposed that adaptations which may have been affected by the mismatch between ancestral and modern conditions, involve mechanisms which regulate sexual functioning (Apostolou, 2015b(Apostolou, , 2016c(Apostolou, , 2016d, personality traits (Apostolou, 2016a), and flirting skills, mating effort and attention to looks (Apostolou, 2015a). Apostolou, Papadopoulou, et al. (2018) and Apostolou, Shialos, et al. (2018) have found that nearly in one in two individuals experienced difficulties in either starting or keeping a relationship, and their mating performance was predicted by their level of sexual functioning, self-esteem, self-perceived mate value, pickiness, personality, attention to looks, and mating effort. Also, men and women did not differ significantly in their mating performance. ...
Article
Recent studies indicated that a considerable proportion of adult individuals experience poor mating performance: They face considerable difficulties in attracting and retaining mates. Using an evolutionary theoretical framework, we hypothesized that poor mating performance would be associated with more negative and fewer positive emotions as well as low life satisfaction. Evidence from an online sample of 735 participants provided strong support for this hypothesis. In particular, we found that individuals who indicated poor mating performance , experienced more negative emotions such as sadness and loneliness, and fewer positive emotions such as happiness and excitement, and they were less satisfied with their lives. On the other hand, those who indicated a good performance in mating, experienced more positive emotions and fewer negative emotions, and they were more satisfied with their lives. As indicated by the effect sizes, mating performance had a moderate to strong effect on positive and negative emotions and wellbeing. Also, consistent with the results of previous research, we found that about one in two participants faced difficulties in either starting or keeping an intimate relationship.
... Similar to study 1, participants were asked why they were single. Given the plethora of reasons for being single ( Apostolou 2017Apostolou , 2018, the three main categories employed in study 1 may have been constraining; thus, in the present study, we have also added the option Bother reason.^ Participants' sex, age, and marital status were also recorded. ...
... A word of caution is necessary here, as our findings should not be interpreted to mean that for some people being single is always a desirable state while for others it is not. The theoretical framework adopted here (see also Apostolou 2017Apostolou , 2018 indicates that singlehood could be a desirable state for most people only for specific periods or stages in their lives. However, a prolonged period of singlehood could compro- mise fitness, as individual are likely to suffer reproductive (i.e., forgone the opportunity to have children) and survival losses (e.g., lack the support of a partner). ...
... Previous research has identified a plethora of reasons that can potentially drive people to be single in general and invol- untary single in particular ( Apostolou 2017Apostolou , 2018). In the current research, we have examined only the effects of few variables including sex, age, and mating performance, with the pseudo R-squared indicating that these factors explain only a small proportion of variation in singlehood. ...
... More specifically, attracting a partner involves several mechanisms, including flirting skills necessary for persuading prospective partners and capacity to understand signals of interest so as to direct mating effort to interested individuals (Apostolou, Papadopoulou, Christofi, & Vrontis, 2019). It involves also mechanisms involved in diverting effort toward attracting a partner, and mechanisms that enable people to distinguish between partners (Apostolou, Shialos, Kyrou, Demetriou, & Papamichael, 2018;Buss, 2017). People exhibit variation in these mechanisms; for example, some have a good capacity to understand signals of interest while others do not . ...
... In accordance with the hypothesis above, studies have found that a considerable proportion of participants indicated poor capacity for flirting and for perceiving signals of interest, allocated little mating effort and were very choosy, with these traits being associated with lower mating performance (i.e., capacity to attract and retain partners) (Apostolou et al., 2018;. Low performance in mating is expected to be associated with higher incidence of singlehood (Apostolou & Wang, 2019), which suggests that these factors would predict whether an individual would be involuntarily single. ...
... In the first part we measured flirting capacity, and in the second part, capacity to perceive signals of interest using instruments developed by . In the third part, we measured mating effort, and in the fourth part choosiness using instruments developed by Apostolou et al. (2018). The Cronbach's α for flirting capacity was 0.88, for the capacity to perceive signals of interest 0.89, for choosiness 0.67 and for mating effort 0.72. ...
Article
A considerable proportion of the population is involuntarily single; that is, they want to be in an intimate relationship but they face difficulties in doing so. The current paper attempted to assess some possible predictors of this phenomenon. More specifically, in a sample of 1228 Greek-speaking women and men, we found that participants who scored low in flirting capacity, capacity to perceive signals of interest and mating effort, were more likely to be involuntarily single than in an intimate relationship, and experienced longer spells of single-hood. Mating effort had also a significant effect on voluntary singlehood, with low scorers being more likely to be in this category than high scorers. Choosiness had also a significant effect, but only on voluntary singlehood, with high scorers being more likely to prefer to be single than low scorers.
... From an evolutionary perspective, we consider that the reasons for watching pornography can also be understood as reflections of fitness strategies, that is tactics that enhance the probability of retaining a mate and, implicitly, the probability of reproduction. One in two adults faces mating difficulties and report poor mating performance, as there are essential evolutionary mismatches that affect mating performance (e.g., mating was, to a great extent, planned and controlled in the family; Apostolou, 2007;Apostolou et al., 2018). Through watching pornography, people may enhance their knowledge about sex and sexuality, which can be, in turn, used in their sex life. ...
... The fact that there were no sex differences on the dimension enhancing sexual performance is congruent with the idea that both men and women struggle with skills for mate retention (Apostolou, 2007). In traditional societies, parents used to choose the partners for their children (Apostolou et al., 2018). Therefore, both men and women engage in strategies to increase their fitness to attract mates and enhancing their sexual knowledge and performance, is one of them. ...
Article
Full-text available
We investigated the reasons for pornography consumption using a bottom-up approach (i.e., open-ended questionnaire) and proposed that those reasons would reflect a short-term mating orientation of individuals that watch pornography and a strategy that should help them to attract or maintain potential mates easier (i.e., a fitness increasing strategies) by enhancing their sexual knowledge through pornography watching. In Study 1 ( N = 276), relying on an open-ended questionnaire and a content analysis, we identified 78 reasons for why people claim to consume pornography. In Study 2 ( N = 322), we grouped those reasons into categories using a series of factor analyses, resulting in four dimensions of reasons for watching pornography: (1) increased sex drive, (2) enhancing sexual performance, (3) social and instrumental reasons, and (4) lack of relational and emotional skills. The content of these factors supported the idea that the reasons for consuming pornography are reflections of a short-term mating orientation and a way to enhance their sexual knowledge and performance. Individuals with higher scores on the dimensions of reasons for pornography consumptions had higher scores on the Dark Triad traits and sociosexuality, mate-value and slow life history strategies (in the case of enhancing sexual performance dimension). In Study 3 ( N = 327), we tested to what extent the factorial structure of the reasons for pornography consumption can be confirmed via Confirmatory factor analysis and tested the convergent validity of the reasons to consume pornography.
... On this basis, it is predicted that a considerable proportion of the population today would experience poor performance in mating. In accordance with this prediction, a study which employed 1,894 Greek-speaking participants found that almost one in two experienced difficulties in attracting and/or keeping an intimate partner (Apostolou et al., 2018). A subsequent study which employed 1,358 Greek-speaking participants produced similar results . ...
... Furthermore, if adaptations involved in mating were not properly optimized for the demands of the contemporary postindustrial context, the difficulties individuals face in the domain of mating would not be transitory but more long-lasting. The reason is that people have limited control over their adaptations; for instance, extroversion is associated with higher mating performance (Apostolou et al., 2018), but people cannot readily adjust their level of extroversion to influence mating performance. On this basis, it could be predicted that poor mating performance is a trait which is relatively stable in individuals' adult life, and as such could result in prolonged periods of singlehood. ...
Article
Full-text available
A considerable proportion of people in postindustrial societies experience difficulties in intimate relationships and spend considerable time being single. In the current research, we attempted to examine mating performance, and occurrence and length of singlehood in a Greek ( N = 884) and a Chinese ( N = 2,041) sample. We found that, in both samples, about half of the participants experienced difficulties in intimate relationships. In addition, more than half of the participants were single, and nearly one in four participants indicated that they were single because they faced difficulties attracting a partner. Moreover, more than one in five singles in the Greek sample were without a partner for more than 3 years, and almost half of the singles in the Chinese sample had never been in a relationship. Mating performance predicted marital status, with low scorers being more likely to be single because they faced difficulties in attracting a partner than high scorers. Mating performance predicted also the length of singlehood, with low scorers spending more time being single than high scorers. In addition, singles who faced difficulties in attracting partners experienced lengthier spells of singlehood than other categories of singles. Furthermore, there were significantly more participants who preferred to be single and who never had a relationship in the Chinese than in the Greek sample. Overall, in both samples, a considerable proportion of participants experienced low mating performance, which was associated with increased incidence of prolonged spells of singlehood.
... After all, survival alone does not ensure that genetic material will be passed on; only mating provides that guarantee. Nonetheless, many people remain single, and a significant proportion of people report having difficulty in starting relationships (Apostolou, 2017;Apostolou, Shialos, Kyrou, Demetriou, & Papamichael, 2018). One significant constraint on relationships is mental health. ...
... One significant constraint on relationships is mental health. Low self-esteem and high neuroticism are predictors of poor mating performance (Apostolou et al., 2018), and relationship problems are associated with many mental disorders (American Psychiatric Association, 2013;Breslau et al., 2011;Collazzoni et al., 2017). In addition to these internal difficulties, external stigmatization of mental illness leads to social distancing (Jorm & Oh, 2009), and people with mental illness report facing discrimination when trying to form romantic relationships (Lasalvia et al., 2013;Thornicroft, Brohan, Rose, Sartorius, & Leese, 2009;Wainberg et al., 2016). ...
Article
Research suggests that stigma toward mental illness extends to evaluations of people with mental disorders as potential romantic partners. However, it is not clear if mental illness functions as a relationship dealbreaker that leads to the rejection of potential mates. The current research consisted of 3 studies that examined mental illness as a relationship dealbreaker and compared its effects to previously established dealbreakers. Study 1 (N = 113) showed that people list an average of 5 mental disorders when asked to report the mental health problems that would lead them to reject a mate. Participants in Study 2 (N = 111) rated specific mental disorders as somewhat or strongly likely to lead them to reject a potential partner. Study 3 (N = 163) showed that people’s willingness to engage in sexual or romantic relationships with an otherwise attractive partner significantly decreased after finding out that the person had a mental disorder. Across the studies, women tended to be more sensitive to dealbreakers than men, especially for short term/sexual relationships, and the pattern of results for mental illness was similar to previously established general dealbreakers. The results of the studies indicate that mental illness does function as a relationship dealbreaker and the conceptualization of social distance toward mental illness should be expanded to include romantic relationships.
... A different study employed a nationally representative sample of American adults and found that, about 25% of the participants did not have an intimate partner (Rosenfeld et al. 2015). In studies which used Greek samples, 30-40% of participants indicated that they did not have an intimate partner (see for instance Apostolou et al. 2018). ...
... Given the plethora of reasons for being single (Apostolou 2017(Apostolou , 2018, the three main categories employed in study 1 may have been constraining; thus, in the present study, we have also added the option Bother reason.P articipants' sex, age, and marital status were also recorded. In order to measure mating performance-how well people do in intimate relationships-we have used a five-item instrument developed by Apostolou et al. (2018). The instrument consisted of items that asked participants to indicate how good they were in romantic relationships in general, as well as how good they were in starting and keeping an intimate relationship in particular. ...
Article
Full-text available
A substantial proportion of people living in Western societies do not have an intimate partner. The current research attempts to estimate the occurrence of people who are involuntary single—they want to be in an intimate relationship but they find it difficult to do so—in the Greek cultural context. Evidence from two independent studies (N = 1682) indicated that about half of the participants who were single, they were involuntary so. It was also found that, mating performance—how well people do in starting and keeping an intimate relationship—was a significant predictor of involuntary singlehood, with low scorers facing a higher probability to be involuntary single than high scorers.
... One in two adults face difficulties in mating and report poor mating performance (Apostolou et al., 2018). This may be because there are important evolutionary mismatches that affect mating performance (e. g., in a free mating context, as the one of nowadays, individuals may not have evolved mechanisms for mate attraction, as mating was to a great extent planned and controlled in the family; Apostolou, 2017). ...
Article
Mating preferences were among the most studied human mating features, as they are the glue that helps form a romantic relationship. We investigated the influence of a broad series of environmental characteristics (e.g., resource scarcity, corruption, physical safety and integrity, insufficient jobs, inadequate medical and educational infrastructure) on women's mate preferences (Study 1, N = 211) and attraction to male narcissists (Study 2, N = 223). We also investigated the link between women's Dark Triad traits and perceived mate value on women's mate preferences in conditions of harsh vs. stable environments (Study 1). In stable environments, we found that women would prefer men interested in long-term relationships, with a pleasant personality and parenting skills (e.g., kind and cooperative). In contrast, in harsh environments, women would prefer men high on resources gathering characteristics (e.g., good cook-housekeepers, with well-off family backgrounds, good economic prospects). In Study 2, we found that women would be more attracted by males high on narcissism in the condition of harsh environments. Finally, we showed that women's Dark Triad traits and perceived mate value were associated with variations in women mate preferences in both conditions.
... Mating success is an important issue in modern societies, as one in two adults report poor mating performance (Apostolou et al., 2018). A possible cause may be that in pre-industrial society, the parents chose the romantic parents for their children, not the children themselves (Apostolou, 2017), mostly for economic reasons (Apostolou, 2007). ...
Article
Mating success is an important issue in modern societies. One in two adults reports poor mating performance. One solution to this problem is to know as much as possible about human mating preferences. In this research, we investigated if women (N = 223) high on the Dark Triad Traits are attracted to males with high levels of narcissism and tested the moderation effect of women's mating orientation and experience with unfaithful men. We showed that women high on all the Dark Triad traits were attracted to males with high narcissism levels. Women with high levels of Machiavellianism, narcissism, or psychopathy that were oriented to long term mating were more attracted to males high on narcissism. Women high on psychopathy who had many experiences with unfaithful men are less attracted by males with high narcissism levels. Experiences with infidelity did not affect the relationships between women's Machiavellianism and narcissism on the one hand and attraction to males high on narcissism, on the other hand. Our research supports the idea of positive assortative mating of women high on the Dark Triad traits, which is conditional on mating orientation and experience with infidelity.
... Across different societies, divorce has become increasingly common; for instance, in Western societies, it has been estimated that one in two marriages would end up in divorce (Cherlin, 2009;Raley & Bumpass, 2003;Schoen & Standish, 2001). Recent studies in the Greek cultural context have found that about one in three adult people experienced difficulties in keeping an intimate relationship (Apostolou et al., 2018), which can also potentially explain why a large proportion of the population does not have an intimate partner (Apostolou, Papadopoulou, & Georgiadou, 2019). The present study aims to identify the difficulties people face in keeping an intimate relationship, to classify them in broader categories, to assess their importance, and to examine some of their contingencies. ...
Article
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Keeping an intimate relationship is challenging, and many people face difficulties in doing so. In the current research, we have attempted to identify these difficulties, within the context of an evolutionary theoretical framework. More specifically, by using a combination of qualitative research methods in a sample of 163 Greek-speaking participants, we identified 78 such difficulties. By employing maximum likelihood analysis on the scores of 1,099 Greek-speaking participants, we classified these difficulties in 12 broader factors. The most important factor was "Fading away enthusiasm," followed by "Long work hours" and "Lack of personal time and space." Almost 70% of the participants indicated that at least one factor, and 41% indicated that three or more factors caused them difficulties. Significant sex effects were found for most factors, indicating that men and women differed in the importance they ascribed to these difficulties. Moreover, significant age, marital status and number of children effects were found for several factors.
... In effect, a considerable proportion of the population is expected to be single because they face difficulties finding a partner. A number of studies in the Greek cultural context have found that about one in two people faced difficulties in either starting or maintaining an intimate relationship (Apostolou et al., 2018;Apostolou, Paphiti et al., 2019). Another study found that about one in four adults in the Greek and about one in five in the Chinese cultural context were involuntarily single (Apostolou & Wang, 2019). ...
Article
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The current research examines the impact of the coronavirus disease outbreak on emotional welfare and the moderating impact of relationship status in the Greek cultural context. We found that participants were more likely to experience severe and extremely severe instances of depression, anxiety and stress after than before the outbreak. We also found that the COVID-19 outbreak was associated with lower life satisfaction. However, the effects were small. With respect to relationship status, we found that participants who were involuntarily single experienced more negative emotions and lower life satisfaction than those who preferred to be single, those who were between relationships, and those who were in an intimate relationship. No significant interaction between the COVID-19 outbreak and relationship status was found, suggesting that the impact of the outbreak on emotional well-being was similar in those who were single and in those who were in a relationship.
... Being gay or lesbian could prevent people from being in a relationship because same-sex attraction is associated with a strong social stigma (Fone, 2000); thus, people may prefer to remain reticent about their sexual orientation and be single than to enter in a same-sex or opposite-sex union. Another reason is that, people may live in small cities or villages, where, apart from the constraints of discrimination against such sexual preferences, there are also significantly fewer same-sex options (Apostolou et al., 2018). This domain was demonstrated to be one of the least prevalent ones, however, perhaps because prevalence rates of one not being able to have children, having a serious addiction, and being homosexual, respectively, are relatively low in the population. ...
Article
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A relatively large number of people in Western societies are single; that is, they are not involved in any romantic relationship. In this study, we have attempted to investigate the reasons for singlehood by asking singles themselves. A final sample of 648 American singles (307 of them women) rated 92 possible reasons for singlehood. These reasons were classified into 18 broad factors and four general domains. Among the most important reasons were poor flirting skills, freedom, fear of getting hurt, having different priorities, and being too picky. Significant sex and age effects were found across different factors and domains. More specifically, men were more likely than women to indicate that they were single in order to be free to flirt around, and because they were not into family making; while women were more likely to indicate that they were single in order to avoid getting hurt, and because they have considered themselves not to be desirable as mates. Younger people were more likely to indicate that they were single because they had poor flirting skills, because they did not see themselves as desirable mates, and because they did not like commitment; whereas older people were more likely to indicate that they were single in order to be free to do what they have wanted. Findings were examined and discussed using evolutionary theories relating to mate selection and evolutionary mismatch.
... More recently, one study based on a sample of 1,894 participants (1,114 women, 780 men) found that, about one in two individuals experienced difficulties in either starting or keeping a relationship (Apostolou, Shialos et al., 2018). It was also found that poor performance in mating was predicted by sexual functioning, self-esteem, self-perceived mate value, choosiness, personality, attention to looks, and mating effort, which were attributed to the mismatch problem. ...
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Within the context of an evolutionary theoretical framework, the current research attempted to study the reasons that cause difficulties in starting an intimate relationship in the Greek cultural context. In particular, using qualitative research methods (interviews and open-ended questionnaires), Study 1 (N = 205) identified 58 reasons that make it difficult for people to start an intimate relationship. Using an online sample of 1,095 Greek-speaking participants (N = 1,095), Study 2 classified these reasons in 12 factors. More than 80% of the participants indicated that they faced above moderate or severe difficulties in at least one factor, while about 40% faced difficulties in three or more factors. Significant gender and age effects were found across the different factors. Using second order principal components analysis, the 12 factors were classified in three broader domains of difficulties in starting a relationship.
... More specifically, a recent study found that nearly one in two adults faced difficulties in attracting or retaining mates (Apostolou, Shialos, Kyrou, Demetriou, & Papamichael, 2018). In the same vein, two different studies found that about one in two singles in the Greek cultural context were involuntary sothey wanted to be in a relationship but they faced difficulties in doing so (Apostolou, Papadopoulou, & Georgiadou, 2018). ...
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A considerable proportion of the population in post-industrial societies experiences substantial difficulties in the domain of mating. The current research attempted to estimate the prevalence rate of poor mating performance and to identify some of its predictors. Two independent studies, which employed a total of 1,358 Greek-speaking men and women, found that about 40% of the participants experienced poor performance in either starting or keeping an intimate relationship, or in both areas. Furthermore, emotional intelligence, Dark Triad traits, jealousy, and attachment style were found to be significant predictors of mating performance. In particular, higher emotional intelligence and narcissism were associated with higher performance in mating, while higher psychopathy, jealousy and an avoidant attachment style were associated with lower mating performance.
... Mating effort is likely to be fundamentally, and perhaps reciprocally, related to mating outcomes. A lack of mating effort may lead to an individual being unmated, for instance, or individuals' mating effort may be in part motivated by the emotional distress stemming from involuntary single-hood, the experience of desiring to be in a relationship but being unable to form one (Apostolou, Papadopoulou, & Georgiadou, 2019;Apostolou, Shialos, Kyrou, Demetriou, & Papamichael, 2018). Despite substantive interest in mating strategies (e.g., Buss and Schmitt's [1993] seminal paper on sexual strategies theory, for instance, had been cited over 4000 times when this article was in preparation), relatively few psychometric measures of mating effort have been developed and fewer still have been subjected to robust psychometric Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (https ://doi.org/10.1007/s1050 ...
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This chapter addresses how the genetic relatedness between parents and their children results in the two parties having converging as well as diverging interests. In the domain of mating, these interests, along with other factors such as the trade-offs inherent in mating, give rise to an opportunity cost of free mate choice: Parents have much to lose if they allow their children to exercise choice freely. This opportunity cost provides a strong incentive to parents to influence their children's mate choices. In preindustrial societies, parents manage to exercise direct control, which is predominantly manifested in the institution of arranged marriage. In postindustrial societies, parents exercise influence indirectly through manipulation. Ultimately, parental influence over mating gives rise to a sexual selection force, namely parental choice, which may be unique to the human species.
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Despite interdependent reproductive fates that favor cooperation, males and females exhibit many psychological and behavioral footprints of sexually antagonistic coevolution. These include strategies of deception, sexual exploitation, and sexual infidelity as well as anti-exploitation defenses such as commitment skepticism and emotions such as sexual regret and jealousy. Sexual conflict pervades the mating arena prior to sexual consummation, after a mating relationship has formed, and in the aftermath of a breakup. It also permeates many other social relationships in forms such as daughter-guarding, conflict in opposite-sex friendships, and workplace sexual harassment. As such, sexual conflict constitutes not a narrow or occasional flashpoint but rather persistent threads that run through our intensely group-living species.
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Many researchers believe that the concept of adaptation is useful for understanding the human mind and human behavior.1-7 These researchers agree that adaptations are design features of organisms that evolved because they enhanced fitness in ancestral environments. They see the psychological mechanisms that make up the human mind as evolved adaptations. Further they are convinced that these adaptations are more likely to produce adaptive effects in environments similar to ancestral ones. In other words, the more similar the present environment to the ancestral one, the more likely the adaptation is to confer the reproductive advantage that led to its evolution. On the other hand, adaptations are less likely to confer an adaptive advantage in novel environments. Despite these shared views, the question of exactly how to characterize these expectations has led to a major disagreement among researchers who study human behavior and psychology from an evolutionary perspective. One group, whose members label themselves evolutionary psychologists, has dealt with this problem by elaborating the concept of the environment of evolutionary adaptedness, (EEA).8-9 Other researchers, who are variously labeled behavioral ecologists, evolutionary ecologists, sociobiologists, or human paleontologists, have tended to question the value of this concept.10-14 In this paper, I review and critique the concept of the EEA and the associated evolutionary psychological view that the human mind consists of many specific-purpose decision-making mechanisms rather than just a few general-purpose ones. I then suggest an alternative to the EEA concept that I believe will serve better the purpose of modeling the relationship between adaptations and environments. I see this concept as a more logical complement than the EEA to the view that the human mind consists of many specific mechanisms. I refer to this new concept as the adaptively relevant environment (ARE). The expression "relevant environment" may also serve as a shorter label. The key idea motivating the ARE concept is that an organism consist of a large number of special-purpose adaptations, each interacting with only a part of the organism's environment. Thus, when a particular element of an environment changes, it is likely to affect some adaptations but not others. Logically, this idea is closely related to the idea that evolutionary change is mosaic: In the course of evolutionary change, some aspects of organisms change while others remain the same. In order to understand an adaptation fully at the proximate level, we need to study its design, the structure of its relevant environment, and the interaction of the two. Before proceeding, a word of caution is necessary regarding the label evolutionary psychology. The label has both a broad and a narrow meaning. In its narrow meaning, it refers to the research program of scholars such as Barkow, Cosmides, Symons, and Tooby who rely heavily on the EEA and associated concepts and who insist that others who do not share this emphasis are not strict Darwinians or true adaptationists.2 However, many writers use the terms in a broader sense that includes all recent attempts to study human behavior and psychology in evolutionary terms. Robert Wright's recent book, The Moral Animal,15 uses the word in this broader sense.
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Mate preference research has focused on traits people desire in partners (i.e., dealmakers) rather than what traits they avoid (i.e., dealbreakers), but mate preferences calibrate to both maximize benefits and minimize costs. Across six studies (N > 6,500), we identified and examined relationship dealbreakers, and how they function across relationship contexts. Dealbreakers were associated with undesirable personality traits; unhealthy lifestyles in sexual, romantic, and friendship contexts; and divergent mating strategies in sexual and romantic contexts. Dealbreakers were stronger in long-term (vs. short-term) relationship contexts, and stronger in women (vs. men) in short-term contexts. People with higher mate value reported more dealbreakers; people with less-restricted mating strategies reported fewer dealbreakers. Consistent with prospect and error management theories, people weighed dealbreakers more negatively than they weighed dealmakers positively; this effect was stronger for women (vs. men) and people in committed relationships. These findings support adaptive attentional biases in human social cognition.
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Successful sexual intercourse is a prerequisite for successful reproduction, a fact that translates into strong evolutionary pressures being exercised on mechanisms that regulate sexual functioning to work optimally. In effect, selection forces would remove from the gene pool any alleles that pre-dispose for sexual dysfunctions, limiting their prevalence to very low levels. But this did not happen with epidemiological studies indicating that sexual dysfunctions are common, with approximately one in three men facing such a difficulty. This raises the question why evolutionary forces have allowed such variation in sexual functioning given its importance in reproduction. The present paper attempts to address this question by applying three evolutionary models on anthropological and historical evidence that depicts the ancestral human condition. It is argued that the high prevalence of sexual dysfunctions in men is predominantly explained by the mismatch between ancestral and modern environments, with selection forces not having sufficient time to optimize sexual functioning mechanisms to the demands of modern conditions. The proposed evolutionary framework is employed to derive predictions which are examined against the available evidence on sexual dysfunctions.
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Epidemiological studies indicate that almost one in two women face some kind of sexual dysfunction. Given the importance of sexual functioning for successful reproduction, such a high prevalence is enigmatic. Selection forces should have reduced to a low frequency, or have eliminated completely from the gene pool, any alleles that predispose for sexual dysfunctions. Epidemiological studies indicate that this did not happen, and the present paper attempts to examine the reasons why. Based on anthropological and historical evidence, it is argued that in ancestral societies sexual motivation was a much weaker predictor of successful mating in women, than it is today in post-industrial societies. Accordingly, balancing selection has favored a female type of sexual behavior which is characterized by low sexual motivation. This low level of sexual motivation is not optimal in post-industrial societies where mate choice is not regulated, resulting in women, who have such predispositions, to be classified as suffering from a dysfunction. Predictions are derived from the proposed model, and matched with available evidence.
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Many people face difficulties or fail completely to establish and maintain long-term intimate relationships. This is puzzling because, given the evolutionary importance of mating, we would expect that evolutionary forces would have endowed most people with adaptations that promote success in intimate relationships. This does not appear to have happened, and the present paper explores the reasons why. In particular, on the basis of anthropological and historical evidence, it is argued that the mechanisms involved in mate choice were shaped by selection forces in a context where mating was regulated. The situation in which individuals have to find mates almost completely on their own, constitutes therefore an evolutionarily novel situation for which selection forces had not sufficient time to produce adaptive changes. The present paper nominates several mechanisms involved in mate choice which may not have been optimized to deal effectively with the demands of the contemporary mating context. This perspective can promote a deeper understanding of the difficulties people face in intimate relationships, and provide a sound basis for therapy to address them.
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“Mate retention” behaviors are designed to reduce the likelihood of partner infidelity and relationship termination. Measures of mate retention historically have focused on individual mate retention— behaviors that individuals perform alone. The current research explores “coalitional mate retention” (CMR)—mate retention with assistance from allies. Using an act nomination procedure, we constructed the CMR Inventory (CMRI) to assess specific CMR behaviors. In Study 1, participants (n = 100) provided open-ended responses in which they nominated CMR behaviors. In Study 2, participants (n = 387) provided frequency reports on the 44 CMR behaviors identified in Study 1. We conducted principal components analyses to guide construction of the CMRI, which assesses seven components of CMI: Manipulation (e.g., “Got my partner drunk to see what my partner said”), Praise (e.g., “Said nice things about me when my partner and other people were around.”), Vigilance (e.g., “Observed how my partner acted around people interested in my partner”), Monopolizing Time (e.g., “Accompanied my partner to a party”), Therapy (e.g. “Told my partner how much I liked my partner”), Gifts (e.g., “Told me what gifts my partner wanted”), and Violence (e.g., “Hit someone who was flirting with my partner”). Discussion highlights the limitations of focusing exclusively on individual mate retention and the importance of considering alliances when researching mate retention.
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Mate value is a construct of importance to many psychological (especially evolutionary psychological) theories. However, there are no well validated self-report measures of mate value. In light of this, we designed the Mate Value Scale (MVS): a brief, four-item measure that can assess mate value of the self, of one’s partner, or of another target. Study One demonstrates that the MVS has good internal consistency, a one-factor structure, and good convergent validity. Study Two replicates these psychometric findings along with demonstrations of good test–retest reliability and further convergent and discriminant validity. Study Three demonstrates how the MVS can successfully be applied to an evolutionary psychological domain (the sex difference in jealousy). Additional cited research demonstrates the MVS’s utility in a number of other domains. We conclude that the MVS is a short and effective measure of mate value.
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The mate choices of children do not always meet with the approval of their parents. As a consequence, the latter employ a battery of tactics that they use to manipulate the mating behavior of the former. Τhis paper offers the first taxonomy of parental tactics of mate choice manipulation. In particular, in Study 1, 57 semi-structured interviews revealed 72 acts that parents employ to influence their children, and 27 that they employ to influence their children's partners. In Study 2, 405 parents rated how likely they were to use these acts to influence their daughters' and sons' mate choices. Factor analysis of participants' responses revealed 12 manipulation tactics that parents use on their children, and four manipulation tactics that they use on their children's partners.
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Evidence from the anthropological record indicates that in most human societies, parents control the mating access to their offspring. Based on these data, a model of sexual selection has been recently proposed, whereby along with female and male choice, parental choice constitutes a significant sexual selection force in our species. This model was found to provide a good account for the mating patterns which are typical of foraging societies. By employing data from the Standard Cross Cultural Sample, the present study aims at examining whether this model can also account for the mating patterns typical of agricultural and pastoral societies. In addition, comparisons between different society types are made and two model-derived hypotheses are tested. First, it is hypothesised that parents have more control over their offspring's mate choices in non-foraging societies. Second, it is hypothesised that male parents exert greater decision making power in agropastoral societies than in hunting and gathering ones. Both hypotheses are supported by the results presented here. The evolutionary implications of these findings are also explored.
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Literature in evolutionary psychology suggests that mate choice has been the primary mechanism of sexual selection in humans, but this conclusion conforms neither to theoretical predictions nor available evidence. Contests override other mechanisms of sexual selection; that is, when individuals can exclude their competitors by force or threat of force, mate choice, sperm competition, and other mechanisms are impossible. Mates are easier to monopolize in two dimensional mating environments, such as land, than in three-dimensional environments, such as air, water, and trees. Thus, two-dimensional mating environments may tend to favor the evolution of contests. The two-dimensionality of the human mating environment, along with phylogeny, the spatial and temporal clustering of mates and competitors, and anatomical considerations, predict that contest competition should have been the primary mechanism of sexual selection in men. A functional analysis supports this prediction. Men's traits are better designed for contest competition than for other sexual selection mechanisms; size, muscularity, strength, aggression, and the manufacture and use of weapons probably helped ancestral males win contests directly, and deep voices and facial hair signal dominance more effectively than they increase attractiveness. However, male monopolization of females was imperfect, and female mate choice, sperm competition, and sexual coercion also likely shaped men's traits. In contrast, male mate choice was probably central in women's mating competition because ancestral females could not constrain the choices of larger and more aggressive males through force, and attractive women could obtain greater male investment. Neotenous female features and body fat deposition on the breasts and hips appear to have been shaped by male mate choice.
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Much of the evolutionary literature on human mating is based on the assumption of extensive female choice during the history of our species. However, ethnographic evidence from foraging societies reveals that, in societies thought to be akin to those of our ancestors, female choice is constrained by the control that parents exercise over their daughters. Data from 190 hunting and gathering societies indicate that almost all reproduction takes place while the woman is married and that the institution of marriage is regulated by parents and close kin. Parents are able to influence the mating decisions of both sons and daughters, but stronger control is exercised with regard to daughters; male parents have more say in selecting in-laws than their female counterparts. In light of the fact that parental control is the typical pattern of mate choice among extant foragers, it is likely that this pattern was also prevalent throughout human evolution. Because daughters' preferences can be expected not to fully coincide with those of their parents, research to date may thus have simultaneously overestimated the contribution of female preferences to processes of sexual selection and underestimated the contribution of parental preferences to such processes.
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Asymmetrical fitness benefits between parents and offspring result in the ideal spouse not being the ideal in-law. This enables parents to attempt to control the mating behavior of their children, and when they succeed, parental choice becomes a primary sexual selection force. A number of studies indicate that parental choice is dominant in contemporary pre-industrial societies. This paper presents evidence from the historical record which indicates that parental choice was also dominant during the later stages of human evolution. More specifically, 40 variables have been coded for a sample of 16 historical societies. Consistent with the model of parental choice, it is found that mating is controlled by parents, male parents exercise more control over marriage arrangements than females, and more control is exercised over female than male offspring. Finally, the specific qualities that parents desire in an in-law and offspring desire in a spouse have also been identified. The implications of these findings are discussed.
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In pre-industrial societies parents exercise a strong influence over the mating decisions of their offspring. As modern pre-industrial societies approximate the way of life in ancestral human societies, human mating behavior should be seen as the outcome of a co-evolutionary process between parental and offspring's mating choice. Both parents and offspring have evolved mating preferences, which enable them to select those mates and in-laws who maximize their inclusive fitness. Following Trivers' (1974) theory of parent-offspring conflict, it is hypothesized that in-law and mating preferences substantially overlap, but also differ with respect to the beauty trait of a mating candidate. This hypothesis is tested on a sample of 292 parents. It is found that the two sets of preferences are strongly correlated, while beauty is preferred significantly more in a mating partner than in an in-law.
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People devote considerable effort to retaining their mates. Mate retention tactics range from vigilance to violence, and are linked to variables such as marital satisfaction and relationship aggression. The Mate Retention Inventory (MRI; 104 items comprising 19 tactics) has proven to be reliable and valid. Given the importance of assessing mate retention in various contexts, there is a need for a briefer version of the MRI. In Study 1 (N = 1032), we develop a short form of the MRI (the MRI-SF), which assesses per-formance of 19 mate retention tactics using two items per tactic. The tactic scales show internal consistency, high correlations with the MRI long-form tactic scales, and links with assessments of controlling behavior, relationship violence, and an assessment of injury. Study 2 (N = 625) replicates the MRI-SF reliability and high correlations with the MRI long-form tactic scales, and shows links to a sexual coercion measure. We conclude that the MRI-SF is sufficiently reliable and valid that it can be used in basic and applied research in place of the MRI long-form for most purposes.
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Introduction: Accurate estimates of prevalence/incidence are important in understanding the true burden of male and female sexual dysfunction and in identifying risk factors for prevention efforts. Aim: To provide recommendations/guidelines concerning state-of-the-art knowledge for the epidemiology/risk factors of sexual dysfunctions in men and women. Methods: An International Consultation in collaboration with the major urology and sexual medicine associations assembled over 200 multidisciplinary experts from 60 countries into 17 committees. Committee members established specific objectives and scopes for various male and female sexual medicine topics. The recommendations concerning state-of-the-art knowledge in the respective sexual medicine topic represent the opinion of experts from five continents developed in a process over a 2-year period. Concerning the Epidemiology/Risk Factors Committee, there were seven experts from four countries. Main outcome measure: Expert opinion was based on grading of evidence-based medical literature, widespread internal committee discussion, public presentation and debate. Results: Standard definitions of male and female sexual dysfunctions are needed. The incidence rate for erectile dysfunction is 25-30 cases per thousand person years and increases with age. There are no parallel data for women's sexual dysfunctions. The prevalence of sexual dysfunction increases as men and women age; about 40-45% of adult women and 20-30% of adult men have at least one manifest sexual dysfunction. Common risk factor categories associated with sexual dysfunction exist for men and women including: individual general health status, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, other genitourinary disease, psychiatric/psychological disorders, other chronic diseases, and socio-demographic conditions. Endothelial dysfunction is a condition present in many cases of erectile dysfunction and there are common etiological pathways for other vascular disease states. Increasing physical activity lowers incidence of ED in males who initiate follow-up in their middle ages. Conclusions: There is a need for more epidemiologic research in male and female sexual dysfunction.
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a b s t r a c t The current study provides the first evolutionarily-informed direct comparison of actual parents' and off-spring's mate preferences. We compared students' (N = 300) average rankings of 13 traits for desirability in an ideal mate with their parents' (N = 238) rankings of the same traits for their offspring's ideal mate. Parents ranked religion higher than offspring, whereas offspring ranked physical attractiveness higher than parents. Parents preferred earning capacity and college graduate more in daughters' mates than sons' mates. In the offspring sample, significant sex differences replicated those previously documented (e.g., attractiveness, resource acquisition). Parent-offspring differences may reflect evolved psychological mechanisms in parents that functioned to increase inclusive fitness by influencing offspring's mate choice.
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Although it is well established that self-administered questionnaires tend to yield fewer reports in the socially desirable direction than do interviewer-administered questionnaires, less is known about whether different modes of self-administration vary in their effects on socially desirable responding. In addition, most mode comparison studies lack validation data and thus cannot separate the effects of differential nonresponse bias from the effects of differences in measurement error. This paper uses survey and record data to examine mode effects on the reporting of potentially sensitive information by a sample of recent university graduates. Respondents were randomly assigned to one of three modes of data collection—conventional computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI), interactive voice recognition (IVR), and the Web—and were asked about both desirable and undesirable attributes of their academic experiences. University records were used to evaluate the accuracy of the answers and to examine differences in nonresponse bias by mode. Web administration increased the level of reporting of sensitive information and reporting accuracy relative to conventional CATI, with IVR intermediate between the other two modes. Both mode of data collection and the actual status of the respondent influenced whether respondents found an item sensitive.
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The Changes in Sexual Functioning Questionnaire (CSFQ), a structured interview/questionnaire designed to measure illness- and medication-related changes in sexual functioning, is presented with evidence of its validity and reliability. Medical students (n = 122) and psychiatry residents (n = 33) completed the CSFQ on two separate occasions. Residents also completed the Derogatis Interview for Sexual Functioning-Self-Report (DISF-SR), a reliable, validated measure used in research on sexual functioning in patient populations. Concurrent validity was established between the CSFQ and the DISF-SR and test-retest reliability was high. The CSFQ is a reliable and valid measure of sexual functioning, useful in both clinical and research settings.
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Given that natural selection is so powerful at optimizing complex adaptations, why does it seem unable to eliminate genes (susceptibility alleles) that predispose to common, harmful, heritable mental disorders, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder? We assess three leading explanations for this apparent paradox from evolutionary genetic theory: (1) ancestral neutrality (susceptibility alleles were not harmful among ancestors), (2) balancing selection (susceptibility alleles sometimes increased fitness), and (3) polygenic mutation-selection balance (mental disorders reflect the inevitable mutational load on the thousands of genes underlying human behavior). The first two explanations are commonly assumed in psychiatric genetics and Darwinian psychiatry, while mutation-selection has often been discounted. All three models can explain persistent genetic variance in some traits under some conditions, but the first two have serious problems in explaining human mental disorders. Ancestral neutrality fails to explain low mental disorder frequencies and requires implausibly small selection coefficients against mental disorders given the data on the reproductive costs and impairment of mental disorders. Balancing selection (including spatio-temporal variation in selection, heterozygote advantage, antagonistic pleiotropy, and frequency-dependent selection) tends to favor environmentally contingent adaptations (which would show no heritability) or high-frequency alleles (which psychiatric genetics would have already found). Only polygenic mutation-selection balance seems consistent with the data on mental disorder prevalence rates, fitness costs, the likely rarity of susceptibility alleles, and the increased risks of mental disorders with brain trauma, inbreeding, and paternal age. This evolutionary genetic framework for mental disorders has wide-ranging implications for psychology, psychiatry, behavior genetics, molecular genetics, and evolutionary approaches to studying human behavior.
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People do not always look for mates, and frequently choose to stay single, at least for some time. This study puts forward an evolutionary framework in which people prefer to stay single because doing so either increases their future mating success or because they have traits which prevent them from being able to attract a mate. The study aims further to identify the specific reasons that drive people to stay single, to classify them in broader reason categories and to investigate their contingencies. Accordingly, by using a combination of qualitative research methods, Study 1 finds 76 different reasons. By using a sample of 1096 participants, Study 2 applied first order principal components analysis and classified these reasons to 16 reason factors. By using second order principal components analysis, it classified these 16 reason factors to three reason domains. Finally, it was found that sex, age and personality significantly predict the reasons that drive individuals to stay single.
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Personality traits such as low emotional stability and low empathy have a considerable negative impact on an individual's mating success. This impact is more severe in cases where such traits reach extreme levels and are classified as personality disorders. Several evolutionary models have been proposed to account for the relative high prevalence of these apparently maladaptive traits. The present paper contributes to the explanatory power of these models by putting forward the hypothesis that in ancestral human societies selection pressures on personality traits that predict success in intimate relationships had been weak. The reason why is that mate choice had been controlled by parents, mainly fathers, who did not place considerable weight on these traits in a prospective son- and daughter-in-law, and who were willing to impose substantial costs on their children in order to benefit themselves from a marriage alliance.
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The rate at which human genomes mutate is a central biological parameter that has many implications for our ability to understand demographic and evolutionary phenomena. We present a method for inferring mutation and gene-conversion rates by using the number of sequence differences observed in identical-by-descent (IBD) segments together with a reconstructed model of recent population-size history. This approach is robust to, and can quantify, the presence of substantial genotyping error, as validated in coalescent simulations. We applied the method to 498 trio-phased sequenced Dutch individuals and inferred a point mutation rate of 1.66 × 10(-8) per base per generation and a rate of 1.26 × 10(-9) for <20 bp indels. By quantifying how estimates varied as a function of allele frequency, we inferred the probability that a site is involved in non-crossover gene conversion as 5.99 × 10(-6). We found that recombination does not have observable mutagenic effects after gene conversion is accounted for and that local gene-conversion rates reflect recombination rates. We detected a strong enrichment of recent deleterious variation among mismatching variants found within IBD regions and observed summary statistics of local sharing of IBD segments to closely match previously proposed metrics of background selection; however, we found no significant effects of selection on our mutation-rate estimates. We detected no evidence of strong variation of mutation rates in a number of genomic annotations obtained from several recent studies. Our analysis suggests that a mutation-rate estimate higher than that reported by recent pedigree-based studies should be adopted in the context of DNA-based demographic reconstruction.
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Rather than viewing individual differences as merely the raw material upon which selection operates, this book provides theories and empirical evidence which suggest that personality and individual differences are central to evolved psychological mechanisms and behavioral functioning. The book draws theoretical inspiration from life history theory, evolutionary genetics, molecular genetics, developmental psychology, personality psychology, and evolutionary psychology, while utilizing the theories of the "best and the brightest" international scientists working on this cutting edge paradigm shift. The first three sections analyze personality and the adaptive landscape; here, the book offers a novel conceptual framework for examining "personality assessment adaptations." Because individuals in a social environment have momentous consequences for creating and solving adaptive problems, humans have evolved "difference-detecting mechanisms" designed to make crucial social decisions such as mate selection, friend selection, kin investment, coalition formation, and hierarchy negotiation. The second section examines developmental and life-history theoretical perspectives to explore the origins and development of personality over the lifespan. The third section focuses on the relatively new field of evolutionary genetics and explores which of the major evolutionary forces-such as balancing selection, mutation, co-evolutionary arms races, and drift-are responsible for the origins of personality and individual differences.
Book
Parents often disagree with their children over their choice of partner. Although the reasons may vary the outcome is very often one of conflict-a conflict peculiar to the human species. For the first time in one volume, Sexual Selection under Parental Choice employs an evolutionary perspective to understand this conflict and explore its implications.
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This article critically evaluates the available data on trends in divorce in the United States. We find that both vital statistics and retrospective survey data on divorce after 1990 underestimate recent marital instability. These flawed data have led some analysts to conclude that divorce has been stable or declining for the past three decades. Using new data from the American Community Survey and controlling for changes in the age composition of the married population, we conclude that there was actually a substantial increase in age-standardized divorce rates between 1990 and 2008. Divorce rates have doubled over the past two decades among persons over age 35. Among the youngest couples, however, divorce rates are stable or declining. If current trends continue, overall age-standardized divorce rates could level off or even decline over the next few decades. We argue that the leveling of divorce among persons born since 1980 probably reflects the increasing selectivity of marriage.
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This . . . book is the first to present a unified theory of human mating behavior. [It] is based on the most massive study of human mating ever undertaken, encompassing more than 10,000 people of all ages from thirty-seven cultures worldwide. If we all want love, why is there so much conflict in our most cherished relationships? To answer this question, we must look into our evolutionary past, according to David M. Buss. The book discusses casual sex and long-term relationships, sexual conflict, the elusive quest for harmony between the sexes, and much more. Buss's research leads to a radical shift from the standard view of men's and women's sexual psychology. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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In this . . . book, William Swann dissects the mistaken assumptions that underlie current self-esteem programs. Swann proposes the concept of "self-traps" as a new way of understanding both the roots and manifestations of low self-esteem. He investigates behavior that has defied explanation by traditional psychological models, such as the regularity with which people suffering from low self-esteem gravitate to relationships in which they are denigrated or abused. Swann convincingly argues that such behavior is the result of our desire to maintain a stable identity by bringing others to see us as we see ourselves, even when we view ourselves negatively. "Self-Traps" [explores] how self-esteem conflicts develop and are played out in all our relationships, and how the authentic achievement of self-esteem is often undermined by American social norms that tell us how to approach our love relationships and work. Swann shows how these societal influences may compound the inner conflicts that people with low self-esteem have, making their thought patterns and behavior that much more difficult to change. Swann proposes solutions that take into account the multifaceted nature of self-esteem and allow us to perform a delicate balancing act, changing our notions of who we are without irreparably losing our fundamental sense of identity. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Adaptations are psychological and behavioral mechanisms designed through evolution to serve specific purposes ultimately related to reproductive success. Although adaptations are inherently functional, in some cases their operation can nevertheless cause personal and social dysfunction. We describe a theoretical framework for understanding, predicting, and reducing the dysfunctional consequences of psychological adaptations. We discuss three general sources of dysfunction: a) the existence of adaptive tradeoffs, b) mismatches between current environments and ancestral environments, and c) individual differences. The paper applies this framework primarily to the topic of social anxiety, a psychological phenomenon marked by concerns pertaining to social rejection and embarrassment. Although social anxiety can serve useful functions, it can also involve excessive worry, negative affect, and avoidance of social situations, leading to significant distress and social impairment. We consider sources of dysfunction in social anxiety and discuss implications for policy, including recommendations for psychological, situational, and biological interventions. We also discuss broader applications of this theoretical framework to other areas of social life.
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To estimate the prevalence of self-reported sexual problems (any, desire, arousal, and orgasm), the prevalence of problems accompanied by personal distress, and to describe related correlates. The 31,581 female respondents aged 18 years and older were from 50,002 households sampled from a national research panel representative of U.S. women. Correlates of each distressing sexual problem were evaluated using multiple logistic regression techniques. The age-adjusted point prevalence of any sexual problem was 43.1% and 22.2% for sexually related personal distress (defined as a score of at least 15 on Female Sexual Distress Scale). Any distressing sexual problem (defined as reporting both a sexual problem and sexually related personal distress, Female Sexual Distress Scale score of at least 15) occurred in 12.0% of respondents and was more common in women aged 45-64 years (14.8%) than in younger (10.8%) or older (8.9%) women. Correlates of distressing sexual problems included poor self-assessed health, low education level, depression, anxiety, thyroid conditions, and urinary incontinence. The prevalence of distressing sexual problems peaked in middle-aged women and was considerably lower than the prevalence of sexual problems. This underlines the importance of assessing the prevalence of sexually related personal distress in accurately estimating the prevalence of sexual problems that may require clinical intervention. III.
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