Get access

Market value, quality of the pool of potential mates, and singles' confidence about marrying

Authors

  • CARRIE A. BREDOW,

    Corresponding author
    1. The University of Texas at Austin
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Carrie A. Bredow and Ted L. Huston, Department of Human Development and Family Sciences, The University of Texas at Austin; Norval D. Glenn, Department of Sociology, The University of Texas at Austin.

  • TED L. HUSTON,

    Corresponding author
    1. The University of Texas at Austin
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Carrie A. Bredow and Ted L. Huston, Department of Human Development and Family Sciences, The University of Texas at Austin; Norval D. Glenn, Department of Sociology, The University of Texas at Austin.

  • NORVAL D. GLENN

    1. The University of Texas at Austin
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Carrie A. Bredow and Ted L. Huston, Department of Human Development and Family Sciences, The University of Texas at Austin; Norval D. Glenn, Department of Sociology, The University of Texas at Austin.


  • This study was supported in part by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. The research reported in this article is part of the first author's master's thesis, and portions of this research were presented at the biannual meeting of the International Association for Relationship Research in Providence, RI, and the annual meeting of the National Council on Family Relations in Pittsburgh, PA. We would like to thank committee members Ed Anderson and Tim Loving for their helpful comments and suggestions. We also thank Alison Bentley, Erin Crockett, and Suzanne Fanger for their comments on an earlier version of this article.

Carrie A. Bredow or Ted L. Huston, Department of Human Development and Family Sciences, The University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station A2700, Austin, TX 78712, e-mail: carrie.bredow@mail.utexas.edu (CAB) or huston@mail.utexas.edu (TLH).

Abstract

Although most mate selection research has focused on what people want in a marriage partner, this research focuses on what people think they can get. Using survey data from a large, representative sample of unmarried individuals, this study revealed that people who believed they possessed fewer qualities that are valued in the mating marketplace and who reported meeting lower quality potential mates felt less confident about their chances of securing an acceptable partner to marry; these associations were no weaker for people who held lower versus higher standards for a mate. Consistent with predictions, individuals' perceptions of the desirability of the people in their mating pools partially mediated the link between their self-reported market value and their confidence about marrying.

Ancillary