Gender Differences in the Dating Experiences of African American Young Adults: The Challenge of Forming Romantic Relationships Within the Context of Power Imbalance

Leslie Gordon Simons, Tara E. Sutton, Antoinette M. Landor, Ashley B. Barr, Chalandra M. Bryant, Ellen M. Granberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-25
Number of pages23
JournalYouth and Society
Volume53
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding 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.

Keywords

  • African Americans
  • intimate relationships
  • mate preferences
  • social inequality

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