Past research has documented that structural factors produce a skewed dating market in African American communities that advantages men over women. Using data collected from a sample of 495 African American young adults (55.8% women, Mage = 22), we tested the idea that African American men can be more selective when choosing dating partners than their female counterparts due to their power advantage. Consonant with this hypothesis, our results indicated that women who had characteristics consistent with men’s mate preferences were significantly more likely to be involved in dating relationships. However, there were no associations between the likelihood of men’s dating frequency or relationship status and whether they typified women’s mate preferences. These findings support the contention that, unlike their male counterparts, African American women may have to compromise their mate preferences and date less desirable partners due to the gendered power disadvantage in the dating market.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This research was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (MH48165, MH62669) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (029136-02). Additional funding for this project was provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
- African Americans
- intimate relationships
- mate preferences
- social inequality