Stereotypes of singles: are singles what we think?



Four studies examined the accuracy of the single stereotype by comparing perceptions of single and partnered targets with self-ratings and ratings by others of single and partnered participants. Results revealed that single targets were evaluated more negatively than partnered targets in terms of a wide range of personality characteristics, overall well-being, and satisfaction with relationships status. These findings were very robust and not qualified by target sex, participant sex, and participant relationship status. In contrast, self-ratings of single and partnered participants were remarkably similar for all personality characteristics as well as overall well-being, which was corroborated by ratings of participants by others. However, partnered participants were indeed more satisfied with their relationship status than single participants. When all is considered, the single stereotype is largely inaccurate. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.