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The Treatment of Relationship Status in Research on Dating and Mate Selection
Article first published online: 29 JAN 2007
Journal of Marriage and Family
Volume 69, Issue 1, pages 207–221, February 2007
How to Cite
Surra, C. A., Boettcher-Burke, T. M. J., Cottle, N. R., West, A. R. and Gray, C. R. (2007), The Treatment of Relationship Status in Research on Dating and Mate Selection. Journal of Marriage and Family, 69: 207–221. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2006.00354.x
- Issue published online: 29 JAN 2007
- Article first published online: 29 JAN 2007
- family structure;
- marital status;
- marriage and close relationships;
- mate selection;
The relationship status of study participants (e.g., daters, cohabitors, marrieds, or unmarrieds) has implications for understanding dating and mate selection. Procedures used in studies may blur or ignore status distinctions. The authors examined methods used in 791 studies published from 1991 – 2001. Most commonly, status of participants is unspecified, and different statuses are collapsed for analysis. Status of participants is associated with recruitment method, and type (e.g., romantic, friendship) and form (e.g., perceived, current) of relationship measured. Unspecified samples are associated with research on the topics of universal properties or causal conditions, and specified samples with mate selection. The connection between status and topic is becoming more blurred over time. Recommendations for studying and reporting status are provided.