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Content analysis of online personal advertisements : attributes desired and offered Leung, Amy Qui Ling 2009

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CONTENT ANALYSIS OF ONLINE PERSONAL ADVERTISEMENTS: ATTRIBUTES DESIRED AND OFFERED  by Amy Qiu Ling Leung B.A., The University of British Columbia, 2005  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in  THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Family Studies)  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver)  September 2009  ©  Amy Qiu Ling Leung, 2009  Abstract The evolutionary perspective has often been used in the study of mate preferences.  Guided by  an evolutionary-based theory called Sexual Strategies Theory (Buss, 1994), the current research examined the effect of the type of relationship sought, represented by an intimate encounter, a date, and a relationship, on attributes desired and offered by online dating ad placers.  Online  personal advertisements (N = 120) from a Canadian dating web site were content analyzed for the following attributes: physical attractiveness, resources, commitment, social skills, social attitudes, and interests. type of relationship.  Attributes desired and offered did not differ by gender but did differ by  Ad placers desired more commitment, social skills, and social attitudes  when seeking a relationship than an intimate encounter.  These attributes, in addition to  resources, were offered more when seeking a relationship than an intimate encounter.  Contrary  to the theory, physical attractiveness was not desired or offered more when seeking an intimate encounter and to date compared to a relationship.  Gender moderated the relationship between  type of relationship sought and resources offered but none of the other attributes. from gender differences in mate preferences is suggested.  A shift away  The limitations of the theory for  explaining the results are discussed and alternative explanations are provided.  11  TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract  ii  Table of Contents  iii  List of Tables  vi  Acknowledgments  vii viii  Dedication Introduction  1  Theory  4 Sexual Strategies Theory (SST)  4  Assumptions Derived from Sexual Strategies Theory  5  Criticisms of Evolutionary-based Theories  7  Literature Review Gender Differences by Attributes Desired  10 11  Research Using Online Advertisements  11  Research Using Paper Advertisements  12  Cross-Cultural Research  13  Gender Differences by Attributes Offered  14  Research Using Online Advertisements  14  Research Using Paper Advertisements  15  Type of Relationship and Attributes Desired and Offered by the Ad Placer  Summary  16  The Value Placed on Physical Attractiveness and Resources  16  Commitment is a Context-Dependent Attribute  19  Diverging and Converging Selectivity in Preferences  19 20 111  Characteristics of Online Daters  21  The Hypotheses and Supporting Research  23  Hypotheses on Attributes Desired  23  Hypotheses on Attributes Offered  24 26  Methods Data Source  26  Sampling  28 Criteria for Sample  28  Determining Sample Size  29  Selection of the Sample  29  Variable Descriptions  31  Dependent Variables  31  Independent Variables  32  Coding Instructions Reliability of Coding  33 34 36  Results Demographic Characteristics by Type of Relationship and Gender  36  Analysis Description for Hi to H4  36  Hi and H3: Attributes Desired and Offered by Gender  38  H2: Attributes Desired by Type of Relationship  38  H4: Attributes Offered by Type of Relationship  40  Analysis Description for H2a and H4a  43  Logistic Regression Analysis: Interpreting the Results  44  H2a: Attributes Desired Using Logistic Regression  44 iv  H2a: Attributes Desired Using Hierarchical Regression  48  H4a: Attributes Offered Using Logistic Regression  48  H4a: Attributes Offered Using Hierarchical Regression  53  Discussion  57  Gender and Attributes Desired and Offered  57  Type of Relationship and Attributes Desired and Offered  59  Gender as a Moderator  63  Implications and Future Research Directions  65  Limitations  68  Concluding Remarks  69  References  71  Appendixes  79  A: Online Personal Advertisement Checklist  79  B: Coding Instructions for Creating the Data File Used in the Analyses  89  V  LIST OF TABLES Table 1  Section Content by Type of Ad  27  Table 2  Information Required by Ad Type to be Included into the Sample  30  Table 3  Characteristics of Sample: Summary of Demographic Variables by Type of Relationship  37  Table 4  Means of Attributes Desired by Type of Relationship Sought  39  Table 5  Means of Attributes Offered by Type of Relationship Sought  42  Table 6  Logistic Regression: Main Effect and Interaction Models for Physical Attractiveness and Commitment Desired  Table 7  Logistic Regression: Main Effect and Interaction Models for Social Skills and Social Attitudes Desired  Table 8  52  Hierarchical Regression: Main Effect and Interaction Models for Social Attitudes and Interests Offered  Table 12  50  Logistic Regression: Main Effect and Interaction Models for Commitment and Social Skills Offered  Table 11  49  Logistic Regression: Main Effect and Interaction Models for Physical Attractiveness and Resources Offered  Table 10  47  Hierarchical Regression: Main Effect and Interaction Models for Interests and Total Attributes Desired  Table 9  45  54  Hierarchical Regression: Main Effect and Interaction Models for Total Attributes Offered  56  vi  Acknowledgements I offer my enduring gratitude to the faculty, staff and my fellow students at the UBC, who have inspired me during my studies.  I owe particular thanks to Dr. P.  J. Johnson, whose patience and  guidance helped me to find the answers I was looking for and to persevere. committee members, Dr. G. Charles and Dr. suggestions during this process.  I thank my other  J. J. Ponzetti Jr., for their thoughtful questions and  I would also like to express my appreciation to Dr.  his academic guidance over the years and to Risako Ota for her assistance in coding.  J. White for Special  thanks are owed to my family, partner, and friends, who have supported me throughout my years of education.  vii  Dedications To thoughtful endings and new beginnings.  viii  Introduction With the advent of the internet and the expansion of its use, online dating web sites have become the latest method of advertising for relationships or dates.  As a result, users are  enjoying many benefits including web sites that cater to specific religions, sexual orientations, ethnicities, interests, and geographic locations (Arvidsson, 2006).  Web sites have client bases  from the thousands to millions, which means a larger dating pooi from which to choose a potential mate.  These developments point to greater social acceptance than there had been in  the past for personal print advertisements, which were regarded as a deviant activity (Darden & Koski, 1988). While some web sites have gone the route of specializing, there are others that are designed to have many clients and greater profits.  It is estimated that in total, dating web sites  are generating US$100 million in revenue annually (Arvidsson, 2006).  The largest web site  Match.com, an American web site, reports having up to 700,000 clients who pay user fees. Ticketmaster, the company that owns Match.com, reported US$49.2 million in revenue in 2001 (Arvidsson, 2006). In addition to the growing financial success of online dating web sites, the number of users of dating web sites is expected to continue to increase.  In 2001, Lavalife.com, one of the  larger Canadian web sites, reported a client base of 2 million users with an additional 7,000 users per day (Arvidsson, 2006). base of 9 million users.  At that time, the largest web site, Match.com, was reporting a client  The Pew Internet and American Life Project (Madden & Lenhart,  2006) found that 11% of American internet users, or about 16 million people, have gone to a dating web site or other web site to meet people.  Within this group, 43% have gone on dates  while 17% have been in long-term relationships or married those people whom they met through the internet.  People appear to be having some success using the internet and dating web sites to  find romantic relationships. 1  Written personals were previously used, dating back to the mid 1700s, in the United States (Gudenlunas, 2005).  Additional methods to finding a mate included the use of  matchmakers and mail order bride systems (Steinfirst & Moran, 1989).  Written personals,  appearing in magazines and newspapers, became more widely used during the 1980s when young working people enjoyed more leisure time.  However, during this time people still felt a  stigma attached to using written personal ads, behaving with reluctance, embarrassment and secretiveness when discussing their experiences (Darden & Koski, 1988).  Paper personals were  eventually offered with voice links which allowed individuals who were interested in a particular personal advertisement to dial a number and listen to a pre-recorded message left by the ad placer (Coupland, 1996).  The creation of the internet led to dating web sites, offering users a  more dynamic and interactive experience when searching for a mate (Gudenlunas, 2005). Although it is difficult to determine the success of online dating, the method has been observed as efficient (Hollander, 2004) and rational (Bulcroft, Bulcroft, Bradley, & Simpson, 2000).  This method is rather calculated, where the ad placer lists exactly what they want and  only those individuals matching this description should apply (Hollander, 2004).  Adding to the  rationality of the process is the usage of screening criteria and methods of matching people that are promoted by personal web sites (Bulcroft et al., 2000).  The ad placer can seek a specific  type of relationship, from looking for a one-time date to describing their preferences for finding a potential partner suitable for marriage, and anything in between.  As an updated version of  paper advertisements, online ads offer variety and diversity in content and style (Lynn, & Bolig, 1985).  On dating web sites, the ad placer has the opportunity to provide more detail than  possible with paper ads and to make use of innovative features for fully conveying their personality, resulting in an extremely worthwhile, rich, and interesting data source. While there is research using online personal ads, dating preferences in same-sex relationships have been the focus (Gudenlunas, 2005; Phua, 2002; Phua & Kaufman, 2003; 2  Tewksbury, 2003).  Research on heterosexual mating preferences has made use of paper ads  (Cameron, Oskamps, & Sparks, 1977; Hatfield & Sprecher, 1995; Jagger, 1998; Pawlowski & Koziel, 2002; Smith, Waldorf & Trembath, 1990; Steinfirst & Moran, 1989) with a few studies using online ads (Badahdah & Tiemann, 2005; Dawson & Macintosh, 2006; Matthews, 1999; Rusu & Bencic, 2003; Strassberg & Holty, 2003).  The few online studies of heterosexual  relationships have not included the duration of relationship sought.  Also, a Canadian sample  has not been used in the existing cross-cultural studies (Hatfield & Sprecher, 1995; Linlin, 1993). The research avenues for learning about different relationships and mate selection appear numerous given the dynamic, creative, and expressive nature of information provided on dating web sites.  The current study took advantage of this source of information to study ads  on the Canadian web site, Lavalife.com.  Specifically, we assessed how the attributes desired  and offered by ad placers varied among the types of relationships being sought, from a one-time sexual encounter to a long-lasting relationship, and how gender affected what was desired and offered by ad placers.  3  Theory Sexual Strategies Theoiy (SST) According to Sexual Strategies theorist Buss (1997; SST), people have strong mating preferences.  Sexual Strategies Theory is based on the identification of underlying  psychological mechanisms that have resulted from evolution for explaining mating preferences. These mechanisms are useful, demonstrating the flexibility of human behaviour and the dynamic nature of mating strategies used by both men and women (Buss, 1997). Buss (1985; 1994; 1997) is one of the first leaders in this field, now known as evolutionary psychology.  In the early 1 980s when he began his work, there was little scientific  evidence on mating concerning the broad human population and even less support for grand evolutionary ideas being applicable to humans.  Consequently, research was initiated that was  meant (Buss, 1983; 1984a; 1984b; 1984c; 1985; Buss & Craik, 1983) to test some obvious evolutionary predictions about how men and women differed when it came to the attributes they desired in a mate.  Such research led to the discovery that desires about human mating had  implications for dating, marriage, extramarital affairs, and divorce (Buss, 1997).  These results  led to the introduction of Sexual Strategies Theory (SST; Buss & Schmidt, 1993). Sexual Strategies Theory is based on an evolutionary framework with three key ingredients (Buss, 1994). inherently strategic.  The first ingredient of this framework is that human mating is  Strategies exist because they have provided solutions to problems in  human evolutionary history.  Buss points out that the manifestations of these strategies are not  necessarily conscious psychological mechanisms but are often unconscious.  Another key  ingredient contributing to the theory is that mating strategies are context-dependent.  The type  of relationship sought, whether it is a situation of short-term or long-term duration, will affect how people behave within the situation.  The last component of the framework states that men  and women have evolved different mating strategies because they faced unique mating problems 4  during the course of human evolution. Expanding on the last two components, SST identifies that each gender will have different preferences in a mate.  Specifically, within each context, the short- and long-term,  each gender will differ in preferences.  in the short-term mating context, the relationship is  characterized as involving casual sex with no expectations.  In the long-term context, the  relationship is characterized as committed and lasting.  The reproductive challenges for each  gender differ greatly in the short-term mating context.  For men, the challenges centre around  how to mate with as many women as possible with minimal costs incurred. identify women who are sexually accessible and are fertile.  Also, men need to  In contrast, the challenges for  women are to extract resources from short term mates, to find alternative mates as backups, and even though it is a short-term mating situation, women are still evaluating their short-term mates for potential as long-term mates.  In the long-term context, there is overlap in preferences  because both genders encounter some of the same problems in mating.  The reproductive  challenges that both genders face are seeking commitment, high quality genes, and good parenting skills in a potential mate.  Further challenges unique to women in the long-term are  seeking mates with resources and the ability to offer protection, while challenges specific to men include seeking paternity confidence in offspring and mates of reproductive value. This theory provides detailed explanations about the conditions which have resulted in men and women wanting different attributes in a mate. orientation, is recognized to shape these preferences.  The context, a short- or long-term Some key assumptions in the form of  theoretical hypotheses (Buss, 1994; Buss & Schmidt, 1993), which add to a better understanding of the theory, are introduced next. Assumptions Derivedfrom Sexual Strategies Theory Nine key theoretical hypotheses have been formulated from SST and have guided research (Buss & Schmidt, 1993; Buss, 1994).  Six of the hypotheses have been useful in this 5  study.  These theoretical hypotheses contain assumptions about what men and women look for  in different contexts. The first assumption is that short-term mating is more important for men than women. This is because men can minimize their parental investment to one time contact and still produce offspring unlike women who are required to provide a higher level of parental investment when they produce offspring (Buss, 1994).  The use of the short-term strategy also allows men to  minimize what they offer. The second assumption is that men’s preference for short-term mating solves the According to SST, men and women  problems of commitment and investment (Buss, 1994). view commitment and investment differently.  Men make use of short-term mating so that they  do not have to be committed or invested in their short-term mate.  Alternatively, if seeking a  long term mate, this assumption allows for the speculation that commitment and investment will be more willingly offered by men. The third assumption is that men’s preference for short-term mating solves the problem of finding fertile women (Buss, 1994).  A related assumption is that men’s use of the long-term  mating strategy solves the problem of finding women who have reproductive value.  These two  assumptions are connected.  Buss (1989) points out that fertility and reproductive value are  linked but unique concepts.  Fertility is defined as the probability of a woman’s current ability  to conceive a child while reproductive value is defined actuarially in units of expected future reproduction.  Put another way, it is the extent to which a person of a given age and gender, on  average, will contribute to ancestry of future generations.  This would mean that a 24 year old  woman would be more fertile while a 14 year old would have more reproductive value. traits are not easily observable so cues need to be observed. traits and physical cues can be reliably linked to age.  These  For women, age is linked to these  For men, age is less obviously linked with  these two traits making the physical cues about age less useful to women (Buss, 1994).  As a 6  result, men can use physical cues to assess a woman’s reproductive value and fertility.  These  assumptions emphasize the value men place on physical traits in a mate in both short- and long-term contexts. Another assumption is that women in a short-term mating context seek men who are willing to offer immediate resources. mothers are well cared for.  Resources are essential to ensuring that offspring and  This assumption helps explain why in the short term women seek  immediate resources from men (Buss, 1994).  In a long-term context, women also favour men  who can provide resources to invest in their offspring.  These assumptions highlight the  importance of resources in a mate for women in a short- and long-term context. In contrast to viewing mate preferences as arbitrary and culture-bound, SST shows that both genders have strategies that are patterned (Buss, 1994).  Central to understanding mate  preferences is considering the short- and long-term context in which men and women operate. SST helps to fulfill the aims of the current study, which were two-fold.  The first was to gain a  better understanding of the preferences held by people using a dating web site to find a potential partner.  This theory offers guidance about what preferences existed and why.  The second aim  of the study was to determine how preferences compare in three relationship types, varying in length of time, and by gender.  SST asserts that the context in which one seeks a partner is  pivotal, that in the context of looking for a short-term versus a long-term relationship, the preferences differ.  The key assumptions of this theory and the research to be presented led to  the formulation of hypotheses that address these aims. Next, some criticisms on SST and the discipline of evolutionary psychology are discussed followed by a literature review.  The review covers existing empirical evidence on  mate preferences. Criticisms ofEvolutionary-based Theories Sexual Strategies Theory (Buss, 1994), belonging to the discipline of evolutionary 7  psychology, has met with many criticisms (Kenrick et al., 2003; Schmitt, Shackelford, & Buss, 2001).  SST has been particularly controversial because of its focus on gender differences  (Schmitt et al., 2001).  SST has been criticized for its interpretation that men favour short-term  mating, therefore, seek physical attractiveness in partners.  On the other hand, women are  associated with a long-term mating context, benefitting more from this context, and focused on finding partners with resources. a particular context.  Specifically, it appears that each gender operates better within  No insight is offered about within gender differences.  Another criticism of SST and all evolutionary theories is that they are reductionistic (Kenrick et al., 2003).  All evolutionary theories hold the basic underlying assumption that  particular genes are responsible for all social behaviours.  Evolutionary researchers are seen as  being concerned with isolating the genes responsible for study apart from the possible environmental influences and ignoring the functional nature that may exist between behaviours. There is little consideration that what influences mating decisions may have no evolutionary basis (Buss, Shackelford, Kirkpatrick, & Larsen, 2001). Another issue is the implication that the behaviour being explained is unchangeable (Kenrick et al., 2003).  This is a concern when a connection between behaviour and an evolved  mechanism that is genetically predisposed is acknowledged, since genes, themselves, are seen as inflexible.  Furthermore, behaviour from evolved mechanisms has implications of being  “natural,” which is associated with being moral and good.  As a result, research on gender  differences could be used to justify current gender inequalities in our social system or to implement additional social structures where women would be oppressed. Another concern is that evolutionary-based theories, such as SST, are not falsifiable (Kenrick et al., 2003). observable.  The assumptions made about the past in regards to evolution are not  Yet, hypotheses are derived from these assumptions.  into the evolutionary framework.  Arguably, anything can fit  A related concern is that SST offers post-hoc explanations. 8  The explanations do not add but recount obvious behaviour, which may be indicative of confirmation bias.  This signals an unwillingness to re-examine the original theory, instead  seeing what one wants to see. Two additional criticisms aimed at evolutionary research have to do with the focus on mate preferences over eventual mate choice behaviour and lack of distinction between marital statuses in samples (Surra, Gray, Cotte, & Boettcher, 2004).  Research has been conducted  asking about mate preferences, where people rate, rank, or describe ideal attributes.  There has  been limited follow-up research as to how people eventually behave in partner selection.  The  concern about marital statuses refers to evolutionary research using samples that contain a mixture of single people and people who are not single.  The concern is that people in a  relationship may be providing biased mate preferences.  People in relationships may be  predisposed to favouring attributes that their current partner possesses, rather than indicating attributes they specifically prefer in a partner. A range of concerns and limitations have been addressed regarding evolutionary theories. Particularly, concern has been raised about the focus on gender differences, the connotations of behaviour being positive and rigid due to the accepted link that behaviour is genetically predisposed, the underlying assumptions that are difficult to disprove, the treatment of relationship status in data collection, and whether mate preferences actually translate into actual mate choice behaviour.  Aside from the concerns, the evolutionary perspective has been a useful  tool for formulating interesting hypotheses and parsimonious explanations of various behaviours. Proponents have dealt with the concerns and limitations discussed (see Kenrick et al., 2003; Schmitt et al., 2001).  9  Literature Review Much of the literature about dating preferences using online personal ads has emphasized same-sex relationships (e.g. Gudenlunas, 2005; Kaufman & Phua, 2003; Matthews, 1999; Phua, 2002; Phua, Hopper, & Vaquez, 2002; Phua & Kaufman, 2003; Smith & Stiliman, 2002a; 2003; Tewksbury, 2003).  The medium of personal ads has provided an effective and  anonymous way to meet others, an especially useful tool for gays and lesbians who may have been unable to meet like-minded individuals in their current social networks (Gudenlunas, 2005). The added ability to browse personal ads on the internet in the privacy of one’s home is a further benefit, particularly for those individuals who are still closeted.  Online personal ads are also a  practical and goal-directed form of computer-mediated communication, making it a source of data that can be systematically analyzed to learn about how gays and lesbians have used this new medium to meet their social needs and establish identities in a virtual world (Gudenlunas, 2005). Previously, it would have been difficult to study this demographic group and their preferences in a romantic partner.  The usage of online dating ads has been a good way to study the  experiences of same-sex individuals in the areas of partner preferences. The medium of online dating ads has changed every ad placer’s experience, including those of heterosexual people (Gudenlunas, 2005).  However, only a few articles (Dawson, &  Mcintosh, 2006; Rusu & Bencic, 2007) have looked at the heterosexual dating community despite the popularity of internet dating web sites (Madden & Lenhart, 2006). The remainder of the literature review is divided into three separate sections: gender differences by attributes desired, gender differences by attributes offered, and the connection between the type of relationship sought and the attributes desired and offered by the ad placer. The research consists of many sources of data, providing a thorough review of the dating preferences of the heterosexual community, which is the focus of the current study.  10  Gender Dfferences by Attributes Desired Research Using Online Advertisements A strong gender difference appears to exist when it comes to the type of attributes desired by heterosexual online ad placers.  Matthews (1999) had students complete a class  project where the content of online personal advertisements was analyzed.  The personal  advertisements that were collected fell under the following four categories: men for women, men for men, women for men, and women for women.  The results for the heterosexual portion of  the sample indicated that men sought younger women and women sought older men. A content analysis of 400 web personals placed by Romanians yielded similar results (Rusu & Bencic, 2007).  Romanian women were found to seek older partners and partners with  attributes reflecting wealth.  Romanian men were found to be interested in younger partners and  in attributes that reflected fertility and health.  Also, the women were more aware of their  market value while the men tended to overestimate their value on the market. Strassberg and Holty (2003) combined two methodologies, a content analysis and an experiment, in their study on mate preferences using online personal advertisements.  The  experimental condition of the study involved the researchers writing four different personal advertisements from the point of view of women seeking men, which were placed on two websites.  Over a six week period, 500 responses were received in response to the four  advertisements, which were content analyzed.  The advertisement where the woman described  herself as financially independent, successful, and ambitious received the majority of the responses, over 50% more responses than the second most popular advertisement, where the woman described herself as lovely, very attractive, and slim.  These results indicate that more  men prefer the less traditional attributes in a mate but that the traditional preferences for a physically attractive partner still exist. Badahdah and Tiemann (2005) examined 500 randomly selected online advertisements 11  placed by Muslims living in the United States.  It was assumed that the ad placers sought  long-term relationships since the Islamic religion does not allow non-marital sex and dating for those that are not engaged.  The results showed women seeking financially secure, sincere, and  emotionally sensitive partners.  Also, women more often than men sought and valued religiosity.  Religiosity was coded as any reference to a specific religion or the use of religious expressions when discussing the self or a potential mate.  Men sought younger partners.  There was no  gender difference in seeking physical attractiveness. Research Using Paper Advertisements The research making use of paper advertisements indicates similar findings to those found in online advertisements, the existence of gender differences in attributes desired. Steinfirst and Moran (1989) took a sample of personal advertisements from a paper publication that consisted of critiques of literature and art.  A content analysis of the advertisements showed  that men sought physical attractiveness evidenced by often requesting a photo, while women sought financial security in a potential partner. Pawlowski and Koziel (2002) proposed that the number of responses received by a personal advertisement is a good indicator of human mate preferences. sample of 1168 advertisements from a Polish newspaper. completed.  This study used a  First, a content analysis was  Traits, such as age, educational level, place of residence, marital status, height,  weight, offered resources, and attractiveness were studied to determine their effect on the number of responses each ad received.  For men, the traits mentioned that positively affected  the number of responses received, in order from most to least important, were educational level, age, height, and resources offered.  For the ads written by women, weight, height, education,  and stated age were negatively correlated with the number of responses received.  The authors  pointed out that women still seek resources while men still value appearance. However, the respondents seem to be using relatively objective traits that are less prone to error or 12  manipulation, such as achieved education, male height, and female weight, when choosing to respond to an ad.  Additional support for women seeking resources more than men comes from  similar research (Bereczkei, Voros, Gal, & Bernath, 1997; Waynforth & Dunbar, 1995). Resources in ads by men only had a small positive effect on the number of responses received while physical attractiveness in ads by women had no effect on the number of responses received (Pawlowski & Koziel, 2002). Further support for a gender difference in what is sought was found in a study of 514 advertisements from a New Mexico magazine (Smith, Waldorf, & Trembath, 1990). Participants were asked to rank 10 of the most desired characteristics found in the ads.  For men,  physical attractiveness was ranked as first on the list of preferences in a mate; for women, physical attractiveness was sixth. characteristic.  Women ranked understanding as their most desired  Within the category of physical attractiveness, one third of the men preferred  thin or petite women (Smith et al., 1990). Gustavsson, Johnsson, and Uller (2008) analyzed paper and online personals written by Swedish ad placers and found mixed support for gender differences. women more than men.  Resources were desired by  No gender difference was found for desiring physical attractiveness.  The researchers concluded that physical attractiveness was a more flexible attribute preference than resources. Cross-Cultural Research Research comparing different cultures has shown that men and women seek different attributes in potential mates.  A cross-cultural study (Linlin, 1993) that compared paper  personals from China and the United States found cultural and gender differences.  Chinese ad  placers expressed interest in beginning a family and marriage while American ad placers conveyed more individualistic values through their self-advertising and freedom of choice. Overall, there was agreement on ideal characteristics in a mate among the Chinese ad placers; 13  however, there was no such agreement among the American ad placers.  The attributes desired  differed by gender: men preferred shorter, younger, never married, and honest women and women preferred taller, older, professional men, who were resolute decision makers. In another cross-cultural study, Hatfield and Sprecher (1995) studied three different cultures, the United States, Russia, and Japan.  Students in eight universities participated: 970  from five American universities, 327 from one Russian university, and 222 from two Japanese universities.  Women were more selective than men.  In all the cultures, men cared more about  physical attractiveness and women cared more about status and personality attributes.  Similar  results were found from a study (Buss, 1994) conducted among 37 different cultures looking at mate preferences.  Men were found to value physical attractiveness and good looks more than  women in all these cultures, even in the cultures that were not saturated with visual media and westernized groups. Gender Dfferences by Attributes Offered Research Using Online Advertisements Similar to research on the type of attributes desired by heterosexual ad placers, there is evidence of gender differences when considering the types of attributes offered by ad placers to potential partners.  Dawson and Mcintosh (2006) proposed that without traditional attributes  such as physical attractiveness to offer, ad placers would offer other positive personal characteristics, such as intelligence and a sense of humour.  A content analysis was performed  using 151 web personals, specifically looking at attractiveness, income, physical attributes and other personal characteristics mentioned.  The results, which supported SST (Buss, 1989; 1994),  showed that for men’s advertisements, wealth and attractiveness were negatively related to offering other positive personal characteristics.  For women, physical attributes mentioned in  advertisements were negatively related to offering other positive personal characteristics. Although the traditionally stereotypical characteristics were still offered, ad placers who lacked 14  those features offered other personality characteristics in their place. Badahdah and Tiemann (2005) did a content analysis of 500 randomly selected online advertisements by Muslim ad placers living in the United States.  Focusing on how religiosity  affected mating preferences instead of geographical location, the results showed a familiar pattern of women offering looks while men offered status.  Interestingly, when it came to  religiosity, women were found to advertise and value religiosity more than men. Similarly, Gustavsson and researchers (2008) using Swedish online and paper personal ads, found a gender difference for resources offered.  Men offered resources more than women.  However, the degree to which physical attractiveness was offered did not differ between men and women. Research Using Paper Advertisements One of the earliest studies (Cameron, Oskamps, & Sparks, 1977) in the area of mating preferences indicated a gender difference in what is offered by ad placers.  A content analysis  of 347 paper personal advertisements found that traditional sex appropriate characteristics were being offered by both genders.  Male and female ad placers were described as operating within  a heterosexual stock market, emphasizing positive characteristics in an aim to maximize their profit when seeking a partner.  For example, women stressed their physical appearance in the  advertisements while men stressed their status.  These results indicate that both men and  women seem to be in sync with what their value is and what is of value to the opposite gender. Additional research suggests that women are eager to describe themselves as thin (Harrison, & Saeed, 1977) when men reveal that they value thinness (Smith et al., 1990).  Similar research  has also found that women stress attractiveness more than men (Bereczkei et al., 1997; Waynforth & Dunbar, 1995).  However, a study on Romanian online ad placers (Rusu &  Bencic, 2007) indicated that men tended to overestimate their value in the market by seeking more attributes in a potential mate than they had to offer.  In contrast, women were aware of 15  their market value, demonstrating this awareness in what they included in their ads. Offering a different view, Jagger (1998) performed a content analysis using 1098 paper advertisements and found that both genders were offering attributes that moved away from the traditional and stereotypical trends of the previous research. physical attractiveness but men did so as well.  Women were found to market  Jagger identified a body consciousness that has  emerged among men where they are trying to conform to an ideal image, as well.  Regarding  the personality attributes, women mentioned being career-oriented whereas men described themselves as emotional.  Both genders seemed to be moving away from the traditional  stereotypical characteristics, choosing instead to emphasize what the other gender previously offered. Type ofRelationshzp and Attributes Desired and Offered by the Ad Placer Much of the research discussed so far has provided a foundation for this section of literature on mating preferences which considers the role of the variable, the type of relationship sought.  To review, the literature on what is sought and offered by both ad placers of paper and  online advertisements has been discussed.  This final section reviews research that explores  how the type of relationship sought relates to what type of attributes ad placers desire and offer. The Value Placed on Physical Attractiveness and Resources One study (Pandey, 2004), based on both paper and online advertisements, offered a glimpse into how the different types of relationship sought were associated with attributes, but only indirectly.  South Asian matrimonial and American personal advertisements were  examined and the results showed that the ad placers had a clear preference for specific characteristics. Both types of advertisements were structurally similar with writer, reader, and purpose segments (Bruthiaux, 1996) but the content differed.  For example, in the purpose  segment of matrimonial advertisements, the singular purpose was marriage whereas in American personal advertisements, there was more variety in purpose.  The matrimonial advertisements 16  were oriented toward male readers whereas the personal advertisements were oriented toward Although the type of relationship sought was not  suitable individuals for the purposes outlined.  examined directly in the study, the matrimonial ads can be representative of seeking a long-term relationship while the American personals can be seen as equal to seeking a short-term relationship.  In both types of advertisements, men and women gave priority to appearance over  shared interests. Similarly, a study looking at preferences for a date partner showed gender differences (Sheldon, 2007).  Women preferred ads that contained endorsing personal growth, helping  others, emotional intimacy, and financial resources.  Men preferred physical attractiveness in a  date partner. The remainder of the research is based on survey methods.  When exploring the roles  of fertility and reproductive value when seeking a specific type of relationship, Buss (1994) surveyed a college sample of men and women. value are linked but are unique concepts. be considered. to age.  He pointed out that fertility and reproductive  These traits are not easily observable so cues need to  For women, age is linked to these traits and physical cues can reliably be linked  For men, age is less obviously linked with these two traits making the physical cues  about age less useful to women (Buss, 1994).  This led Buss to hypothesize that physical cues,  such as youth and attractiveness are more important to men than women.  Men rated the  importance of physical attractiveness higher in a short-term mate than the long-term mate although it was important in both durations.  Women exhibited the same pattern, rating physical  attractiveness in both durations as important but more so in the short- than long-term.  Also,  physical attractiveness was more important to men than women overall. Stewart, Stinnett, and Rosenfeld (2000) examined preferences for characteristics in both short-term and long-term relationship partners where ‘typical short-term’ was defmed as ‘dating someone more than once’ and not having any expectation for a short or long-term relationship 17  and ‘long-term’ was defined as ‘dating someone a long time’ accompanied by a possibility but not necessarily a certainty for marriage.  A gender difference was found in terms of desired  characteristics for both categories of relationship duration where men preferred reproductive value, translated into the characteristic, physical attractiveness in a mate and women valued resource acquisition ability, which translated into preferring the characteristic, earning capacity. Kenrick, Sadalla, Groth, and Trost (1990) used an evolutionary perspective to assess what the minimum criteria were along 24 dimensions of four levels of involvement, which were a date, sexual relations, steady dating, and marriage with a heterosexual sample of undergraduate Women were the most selective, specifically preferring status-linked dimensions.  students.  The involvement type yielding the greatest gender differences was ‘sexual relations.’  Men  cared less about status, friendliness, health, and family orientation variables than women. However, men and women did not differ significantly on attractiveness and aggressiveness variables.  The researchers concluded that the evolutionary perspective was supported as it  reflected how sexual relations required more potential investment by women, resulting in more selectivity on their part while for men the opposite was true so they were less selective in the short-term. Turning to financial resources, Buss (1994) hypothesized that women desire signs that a man will spend resources on her in the short term, which was tested with 50 female subjects who were asked to rate the desirability of the following characteristics in the short- and long-term: spends a lot of money early on, gives gifts early on, and has an extravagant lifestyle. desired these characteristics more in the short than long term. more in the short than the long term.  Women  Also, women disliked stingy men  These findings indicate that in the short term women  value a mate who has resources to offer and is willing to use those resources. In a similar study, Buss (1994) explored how relationship duration linked to women desiring in a potential mate ambition, earning capacity, professional degrees, and wealth, as these 18  are indicators of ability to provide for offspring.  A group of 58 men and 50 women were asked  to rate the desirability of what was termed future resource-acquisition potential indicators. Women were found to value the following characteristics more in a long term mate than a short term mate: is likely to succeed in profession, is likely to earn a lot of money, and has a reliable future career.  Findings were similar in a study exploring 37 different cultures (Buss, 1994).  Men’s and women’s preferences regarding attributes such as, good financial prospects, social status, and ambition-industriousness, in a long term mate were examined.  In all cultures except  for one, women more than men placed significantly greater value on good financial prospects in a long-term mate.  In the majority of cultures studied, women more than men also valued social  status and ambition-industriousness in a long-term mate. Commitment is a Context-Dependent Attribute Specifically exploring the variable, commitment, and duration of relationship, Buss (1994) asked men and women to rate the variable, wants a commitment, for short-and long-term mates.  Buss noted that this variable was the most context-dependent out of all the variables he Commitment was strongly desired by men in long-term mates and strongly  has examined.  undesired in short-term mates.  For women, the distinction was less strong: women strongly  wanted commitment from a long-term mate and found commitment only mildly undesirable in a short-term mate.  Stewart and colleagues found that women desired a dependable partner in the  short-term (2000).  Likewise, Regan (1998) found that family orientation attributes were more  desired in the long- than short-term with women showing a more stringent desire in the short-term than men. et al., 1993).  This gender difference was well supported (Kenrick et al., 1990; Kenrick  These findings show the type of relationship strongly influences desiring  commitment for men.  On the other hand, women appear to seek commitment and investment  from men in both the short- and long-term but especially in the long-term.  19  Diverging and Converging Selectivity in Preferences Women were more selective than men in short-term relationships, whereas men were almost as selective as women when it came to long-term relationships (Kenrick et al., 1990; Stewart et al., 2000).  Kenrick, Groth, Trost, and Sadalla (1993) found further support for the  existence of gender differences.  University students (92) were asked to rate what percentile  they wanted a potential partner to be on a given dimension for five types of involvement.  There  was the greatest gender difference when men and women were asked to rate given characteristics for a partner for the purposes of sexual relations and a one night stand, which was consistent with results from the previous study (Kenrick et al., 1990). when the purpose was a marriage and a date.  There were fewer gender differences  Overall, women were the most selective, which is  supportive of the evolutionary perspective. Regan (1998) surveyed undergraduate students, also finding a change in level of selectivity when a short-term versus a long-term partner was sought.  When the mating context  shifted from short to long-term, both men and women became more selective on a number of attributes, such as social status, agreeableness, extraversionlsociability, family orientation, intellect, and emotional stability.  Women were more selective in the short-term than men when  considering a potential partner, again. Summary The literature review showed gender differences in mate preferences. There was strong support for gender differences in attributes desired, with men desiring physical attractiveness (Buss, 1994; Steinfirst, & Moran, 1989) and women desiring resources (Bereczkei et al., 1997; Pawlowski, & Koziel, 2002; Rusu, & Bencic, 2007; Waynforth & Dunbar, 1995).  These  gender differences were shown to exist cross-culturally (Buss, 1994; Hatfield & Sprecher, 1995; Linlin, 1993).  Some support exists showing no gender difference for physical attractiveness  (Gustavsson, Johnsson, & Uller, 2008) or at least some flexibility for this attribute (Strassberg & 20  Holty, 2003). The support for gender differences in attributes offered is mixed.  There was evidence  on a gender difference for offering physical attractiveness, indicating that women offer this attribute more than men (Bereczkei et al., 1997; Dawson, & Mcintosh, 2006; Waynforth & Dunbar, 1995).  There was also support for no gender difference (Gustavsson et al., 2008;  Jagger, 1998).  There was a gender difference for resources with men offering this attribute  more than women (Bereczkei et al., 1997; Cameron et a!., 1977; Waynforth & Dunbar, 1995). To a lesser extent, personality characteristics (Hatfield, & Sprecher, 1995; Smith et a!., 1990) and lifestyle choices (Badahdah, & Tiemann, 2005) were being desired by women and offered by both genders, indicating that presenting oneself as well-rounded was important (Jagger, 1998). The research showed that attributes differed by type of relationship sought.  When  seeking a short-term partner, physical attractiveness was desired and offered (Buss, 1994; Kenrick at al., 1990; Stewart et at, 2000) while resources and commitment were more important when it came to an ideal long-term partner (Buss, 1994).  Gender also moderated the  relationship between the type of relationship sought and attributes desired and offered, applying particularly to physical attractiveness, resources, and commitment (Kenrick at al., 1990; Kenrick at al., 1993; Regan, 1998; Stewart et a!., 2000). Characteristics of Online Daters Thus far, the literature on mate preferences has been reviewed and has shown that there is variation in attributes desired and offered by online daters. is offered because the current study used a Canadian sample.  A profile of Canadian online daters According to Brym and Lenton  (2001), online daters differed significantly from Canadian internet users and the general Canadian population.  A comparison between Canadian internet users and the general Canadian  population showed that internet users are younger, better educated, more likely to be employed, and have a higher income.  When Canadian online daters were compared to internet users who 21  were not online daters, it was found that online daters are more likely to be male, single, divorced, employed, living in an urban area, and earning a higher income.  The age range of 18 There were  to 30 represents 70% of online daters, with fewer online daters as the age increases. some differences in which gender used the internet and online dating.  More women, by 7%, For  use the internet than men while 37% more men use online dating services than women. every female online dater, there are over two male online daters (Brym & Lenton, 2001).  The demographic characteristics of American online daters share some similarity to Canadian online daters.  American online daters are younger than American Internet users, with  the largest percentage (18%) of online daters between the ages of 18 to 29 years old (Madden & Lenhart, 2006).  Online daters are also more likely to be employed and to be male when  compared to American internet users, similar to Canadian online daters.  Online daters earn a  lower income and are less educated than American internet users, which differs from Canadian online daters. Canadian online daters used online dating services primarily to find dates (7 8%) and to find a long-term relationship (58%) (Brym & Lenton, 2001).  The third reason was to find  sexual partners (44%), with men (5 3%) more likely to do so than women (20%).  Other reasons  included using online dating for curiosity and fun with no intention of ever meeting face-to-face (41%), to casually chat and flirt (36%), and to find a possible marriage partner (31%).  Women  (40%) were more likely than men (30%) to use online dating services to casually chat and flirt. The motivations offered for using online dating websites also varied by age (Brym & Lenton, 2001).  Those between 18 and 29 differed from those who were 30 and older, reporting  more often that their motivations for online dating were to satisfy curiosity and to have fun with no intention of ever meeting face-to-face.  Online daters below the age of 29 and over the age  of 59 were most likely to look for sexual partners. Also, interesting to note was that those looking for sexual partners were men, below 25 or 22  above 59, and married or common-law.  Those looking for long-term relationships were single  and 30 years or older while online daters looking for a marriage partner were single, widowed or divorced and 30 years of age or older. Demographic characteristics, such as age, education, and income set Canadian online daters apart from internet users and the general Canadian population.  The motivations that  Canadian online daters have for using online dating show a range of interactions and The motivations of online daters also vary in interesting ways  relationships being sought. according to age and gender.  The Hypotheses and Supporting Research Hypotheses on Attributes Desired There was strong support for gender differences in type of attributes desired by paper ad placers, showing that men desired physical attractiveness (Buss, 1994; Steinfirst, & Moran, 1989) and youth (Matthews, 1999) and women desired financial resources (Bereczkei et al., 1997; Pawlowski, & Koziel, 2002; Rusu, & Bencic, 2007; Waynforth & Dunbar, 1995).  To a  lesser extent, personality characteristics (Hatfield, & Sprecher, 1995; Smith et al., 1990) and lifestyle choices (Badahdah, & Tiemann, 2005) were important in potential partners for women. Gender differences were shown to exist cross-culturally (Buss, 1994; Hatfield & Sprecher, 1995; Linlin, 1993).  This leads to the following hypothesis on gender differences in attributes sought:  Hi: Men will desire physical attractiveness more than women.  Women, more than men, will  desire resources, commitment, social skills, social attitudes, and interests. The research showed that attributes differed by type of relationship sought.  When  seeking a short-term partner, physical attractiveness was desired (Buss, 1994; Kenrick at al., 1990; Stewart et al., 2000) while resources and commitment were more important when it came to an ideal long-term partner (Buss, 1994).  Personality characteristics (Hatfield & Sprecher,  1995; e.g. resolute, humour; Linlin, 1993; e.g. understanding; Smith et al., 1990) and lifestyle 23  choices (e.g. wanting children, marriage; Linlin, 1993) were favoured in a long-term relationship but to a lesser extent.  This leads to the following hypothesis on type of relationship and  attributes sought: H2: Physical attractiveness will be desired when seeking an intimate encounter and to date; in general, more attributes, and specifically, resources, commitment, social skills, social attitudes, and interests, will be desired when seeking a relationship. While gender is hypothesized to have a direct effect on attributes desired, it may also moderate the association between the type of relationship sought and attributes desired.  In  terms of selectivity, women were found to be more selective than men, seeking more in both the short- and the long-term (Kenrick et al., 1990; Kenrick et al., 1993; Regan, 1998).  In the long  term, men were almost as selective as women (Kenrick et al., 1990; Kenrick et al., 1993). Theoretical hypotheses five and six of SST also highlight the emphasis that women place on men with resources in all types of relationships (Buss, 1994), leading to the following hypothesis: H2a: Male ad placers will go from desiring a low to a higher level of attributes when the type of relationship sought goes from an intimate encounter and to date to a relationship, whereas female ad placers will desire a constant high level of attributes regardless of the type of relationship sought. Hypotheses on Attributes Offered The existence of gender difference in attributes offered was mixed.  There was a gender  difference for financial resources with men offering this attribute more than women (Bereczkei et al., 1997; Cameron et al., 1977; Waynforth & Dunbar, 1995). difference for physical attractiveness was less definitive.  The evidence of a gender  Women offered physical  attractiveness (Bereczkei et al., 1997; Dawson, & Mcintosh, 2006; Waynforth & Dunbar, 1995) but some research indicated (Gustavsson et al., 2008; Jagger, 1998) no difference among men and women in offering physical attractiveness.  Personality characteristics were being offered 24  but to a lesser degree (Dawson, & Mcintosh, 2006), which leads to the next hypothesis on gender differences in attributes offered: H3: Men will offer resources more than women.  Women will offer physical attractiveness,  commitment, social skills, social attitudes, and interests, more than men. The research showed that when seeking a short-term partner, physical attractiveness was offered (Jagger, 1998), while resources (Cameron et al., 1977; Dawson, & Macintosh, 2006) and commitment (Buss, 1994) were offered when seeking a long-term partner.  SST theory also  states that finding long-term mates with skills and characteristics that exhibit a willingness to commit and be good at parenting is valued (Buss, 1994), leading to this hypothesis on type of relationship and what is offered: H4: Physical attractiveness will be offered when seeking an intimate encounter and to date; in general more attributes and specifically attributes indicating resources, commitment, social skills, social attitudes, and interests, will be offered when seeking a relationship. While gender has been hypothesized to have a direct affect on attributes offered, it is speculated to moderate the association between the type of relationship sought on attributes offered.  SST proposes that men and women deal with the issue of resources differently (Buss,  1994).  The level of resources offered will vary by gender depending on the type of  relationship.  Women are starting to offer attributes indicating resources (Jagger, 1998) while  research has shown that men emphasize resources as what they have to offer (Badahdah & Tiemann, 2005; Bereczkei et aL, 1997; Dawson & Macintosh, 2006; Pawlowski & Koziel, 2002; Waynforth & Dunbar, 1995) and offer more resources when they are seeking a long-term mate (Buss, 1994), which leads to this hypothesis: H4a: Female ad placers will offer a constant level of resources, regardless of the type of relationship sought, whereas male ad placers will offer a low to higher level of resources, when seeking an intimate encounter and to date to a relationship. 25  Methods Data Source Personal advertisements were downloaded from Lavalife.com, a Canadian internet dating web site.  The web site allows individuals to seek out people from three different  communities, representing three types of relationships: ‘intimate encounter,’ ‘dating,’ and ‘relationship’. The intimate encounter category focuses on short-term relationships of a sexual nature, the dating category represents casual but ongoing relationships that involve time spent together in various activities, and the relationship category is about pursuing relationships that involve long-term investment, potentially leading to marriage. There is no way of telling if each advertisement is from a different person as ad placers may have up to three active advertisements simultaneously or even sign up for multiple accounts. Signing up for an account, which is free, entitles a person to have access to all three categories of ads.  Only those who opt to pay a fee are provided with information on how to communicate  with others in the online dating system. A screening process and guidelines on amount of content provide some quality control. For example, ad placers’ descriptions about themselves (“In your own words.  . .“)  must be  between 100 and 2000 characters, and they are told that the information must be submitted for approval before it is posted on the website.  An ad is removed if its content is not appropriate  for the specific type of relationship. This process helps to ensure that the ads are a source of data that is appropriate and rich in content for scholarly examination. The advertisements are quite structured but there is variation depending on the type of relationship sought (see Table 1).  For all three types of ads, there is an “In my own words...”  section, which contains information about what is desired and offered by the ad placer.  The  dating and relationship ads, unlike the intimate encounter ads, have an “interests” section, in  26  Table 1 Section Content by Type ofAd  Type of Ad Intimate Encounters  Dating  Relationship  Personal Details  X  X  X  In your own words...  X  X  X  A little to get us started...  X  X  Section  X  Have in common... Interests  X  X  Note: For relationship ads, the personal details section also asked about having children, wanting children, education, and income.  27  which the ad placers check off their interests from a fixed list of hobbies, sports, and other forms of entertainment. As shown in Table 1, there are sections unique to each type of ad. focus on information that is most relevant to the specific type of relationship.  These sections For example, ad  placers who are seeking relationships are given the choice to provide information about their level of education, income, and if they have or want to have children. In contrast, ad placers seeking an intimate encounter or a date are not asked to provide this information. Sampling Criteriafor Sample To be included in the sampling frame, ad placers had to be between the ages of 18 and 39, single, never married or could be divorced, and live within Vancouver and its surrounding cities. The age range was based on the trends in online dating, internet use, and age at first marriage. A Canadian report noted that the majority (69.2  %) of online daters are between the ages of 18  and 40, with the largest percentage (33.8%) of this group in their 30s (Brym & Lenton, 2001). Statistics Canada (2008) reported that 96% of people between the ages of 16 to 24 used the internet in 2007.  People under the age of 35 had the highest rates of Internet shopping (Ellison  & Clark, 2001) and 74% of people aged 25 to 44 used online banking (Canada Leads, 2008). These trends on online dating and internet use justified setting the lower end of the age range at 18 and the upper end in the thirties. To determine the upper age limit, trends on marriage and divorce were also considered. The average age at first marriage in Canada, excluding Ontario, was 30.6 years for men and 28.5 years for women in 2003 (Statistics Canada, 2007).  Canadians entering their second  marriage were 39 years of age on average (Clark & Crompton, 2006; Statistics Canada, 2006). There is some research to support that those between the age range of 30 to 40 are active online daters and Internet users (Brym & Lenton, 2001), with divorcees falling into this 28  age range.  Relevant research using paper ads, comparing the preferences of single, never  married daters with divorcees, has found that age has a greater impact on preferences than relationship status (never married versus divorced) (Koziel, & Pawlowski, 2003).  These  findings support setting the upper age range in the late-thirties to achieve a more homogeneous sample. A Canadian online study found that the majority (70.3%) of online daters live in large cities and their suburbs (Brym & Lenton, 2001).  For this study, the catchment area was 150 To do this,  miles so that Vancouver, British Columbia and its surrounding cities were included.  the researcher signed on the website as residing in the city of Burnaby, the center of the catchment area (Welcome, 2004).  In addition, all ads needed to have demographic  information and specific sections filled out to be included in the sample (see Table 2).  There  was common information required from all three types of ads, as well as information unique to each type of ad Determining Sample Size The sample size was determined using two equations from Tabachnick and Fidell (2001), which involve considering the number of independent variables in the study (m).  There are  eight independent variables, which are gender, age, ethnic background, religion, want/do not want children, education, income, and type of relationship sought. Where m is equal to the number of independent variables, the following equations were used to calculate sample size: 1) N? 50  +  8m (114  =  50  +  64) and 2) N? 104  of the two equations was used (N  +  m (112  =  104 ÷ 8).  The larger sample size out  114) and that number was rounded up (N = 120) so that each  strata would contain an even number of ads. Selection of the Sample The sample was selected using a stratified systematic sampling method (Rao, 2000).  29  Table 2 Irformation Required by Ad Type to be Included into the Sample  Type of Ad Required Information  Intimate Encounters  Dating  Relationship  Age  X  X  X  Gender  X  X  X  Ethnic Background  X  X  X  Religion  X  X  X  Demographic  Want/Do not want children  X  Education  X  Income  X  Sections “In my own words” section  X  2 What turns me on  X  What I am looking for in 2 a partner  X  My friends would describe me as I value  X  X  X  X  30  The sample was stratified by gender and by relationship type.  Beginning with a random start,  every kth ad was be selected (the number of ads in each strata divided by the desired sample size equals k).  The researcher signed into the web site as a female user to select 20 ads from each  relationship category where the kth ad was selected, resulting in 60 ads placed by men. Gathering ads placed by women involved logging in as a male user and using the same method. Sub-samples consist of 40 ads taken from the ‘intimate’ encounter category, 40 from the ‘dating’ category, and 40 from the ‘relationship’ category with an equal number placed by men (N = 60) and women (N = 60).  The total sample included 120 ads.  period of two days on November  th 29  and  th, 30  The ads were downloaded over a  2008 during the evening time.  Variable Descriptions Dependent Variables Type ofattributes desired by the ad placer.  This dependent variable consists of six  attributes (see Table 3), which have been found in related research using online and print ads (Badahdah & Tiemann, 2005; Pawlowski, & Dunbar, 1999b; Waynforth & Dunbar, 1995) and identified by Sexual Strategies Theory as important in mating preferences and strategies (Buss, 1994).  Category one was physical attractiveness, which includes specific terms used for both  genders (e.g., “good-looking,” “healthy,” and “nice body”) and terms specific to each gender (e.g., for men, “handsome,” “tall,” “muscular,” ; e.g., for women, “petite,” “pretty,” “slim”). Category two was resources, both current and future earning potential (e.g., any reference to property ownership, wealth, or professional qualifications).  Category three consisted of  commitment-related characteristics (e.g., “understanding,” “emotionally stable,” “dependable”). Social skills made up category four (e.g., “creative,” “intelligent,” “easy going”).  Category five  was social attitudes (e.g., any reference to social and political views, religious beliefs, and lifestyle) and category six was interests (e.g., outdoor activities/fitness, sports, entertainment, and hobbies).  The last three categories have been found in research (Pawlowski & Dunbar, 1 999b) 31  on the topic of mate preferences, although category five and six were previously combined.  For  the current study, a separate category was made for interests because the ad placer was offered close to a hundred options to check off.  Also, interests and social attitudes are different enough  to be separate categories. Type ofattributes offered by the adplacer.  The second dependent variable was what  the ad placers offered. The coding descriptions were the same as for the attributes desired. When ad placers listed attributes offered then said that they desired the same in a mate, what was offered was recorded as what was desired, and vice versa, which has been done in similar research on personal advertisements (Pawlowski, & Dunbar, 1999b). Counting such cases as desiring zero attributes in a potential mate would bias the information. Independent Variables Taken from the “personal details” section of the online ads, the following demographic information was recorded: 1) age, 2) ethnic background (White; Black; Asian; HispanicLatino; First Nations; East Indian; Middle Eastern; West Indian; mixed; Pacific Islander; other), 3) religion (New Age; Islamic; Jewish; Catholic; Buddhist; Hindu; non-religious: Anglican; Sikh; Methodist; Christian-other; Baptist; Lutheran; Presbyterian; other), 4) want/do not want children, 5) education (secondary school; CEGEP; vocational/technical; college: university; grad school), and 6) annual income (less than $25,000; $25,000 to $50,000; $50,000 to $75,000; $75,000+).  All ads contained the age of the ad placer.  If demographic information in a  desired partner was mentioned by the ad placer, it was also recorded. Gender ofadplacer.  This is a control variable examined for moderator and main  effects. Type ofrelationshz sought by the adplacer. which consists of the three relationship categories. shortest lasting relationship sought by the ad placer.  This is another independent variable, The intimate category represents the As of March 21, 2008 when a female ad 32  placer selected this category on the web site, she saw the caption ‘explore your wild side’ and saw that 178,534 men had placed advertisements in this category. called dating, with the caption “flirt shamelessly.”  As a female ad placer, the web site did not  reveal how many male members were in the dating community. articles, for example, discussing dating advice.  The second category is  This section also contained  The dating category represents a relationship in  between an intimate encounter and a long-term relationship. represents the longest lasting relationship type sought.  The relationship category  When a female ad placer viewed this  section, she saw the caption, “looking long-term?” and that 191,331 members were in the category.  This category implies commitment and included articles on topics, such as gift giving.  When logged in as a male ad placer, the number of women in each relationship category was revealed.  There was also prominent advertising that encouraged male ad placers to upgrade to a  paying account. The articles seen by male ad placers were the same ones seen by female ad placers. Coding Instructions Each advertisement was coded using a checklist (see Appendix A).  Demographic  information was recorded in two separate “Offered by Ad Placer” and “Desired in a Potential Partner” columns.  For the desired age in a partner, in cases where an age range or the phrase,  “in the 30s” was mentioned, the midpoint in the range was coded.  When the terms used  included, “early, mid, or late 20s,” the age was coded as 22, 25, and 28, respectively.  These  decision rules have been used in similar research (Greenlees & McGrew, 1994; Pawlowski & Dunbar, 1999b; Waynforth & Dunbar, 1995) where the effect of age on resources desired and offered was examined.  These decisions rules were applied to the desired age in a partner and  not necessary for the age of the ad placer because the web site required its users to give their age. For the age of ad placer, in a few cases there was conflicting information, such as two different ages given.  In these cases, the older age was recorded. 33  With a similar structure to the demographic information section, there are two more similarly labelled columns in the checklist used to check off attributes desired in a potential partner and offered by the ad placer with a column in between containing the six categories and a list of terms for each category.  During coding, if a word synonymous to a listed word was  encountered, the coder added the word in the “other” section. Two different persons, the author and a second coder coded the ads.  The second coder  was trained with a small number of personal advertisements, not included in the final sample. Once the principal coder and the second coder had a consistent understanding of the code categories, the second coder coded 10% of the actual sample of advertisements. Reliability of Coding Intra-class correlation (IC C) was used to measure inter-rater reliability because the data are continuous, and this correlation takes into account that the two raters’ scores could be highly correlated, but show limited agreement (Shrout & Fleiss, 1979).  Pearson correlation, another  estimate of inter-rater reliability for continuous data, is also reported for comparison. It does not take into account that there might be limited inter-rater agreement even though the correlation is high.  The overall reliability for attributes offered was high (ICC  =  .994; Pearson’s r  =  .995).  The main and second coder met and discussed each situation where there was a disagreement on the coding, and the agreed upon code was used.  Three categories for attributes offered  (physical attractiveness, social skills, and social attitudes) showed some lack of agreement between coders: some terms were not counted for physical attractiveness, a new term was added to the list of social skills, and two items (smoking and drinking which were listed in another part of the advertisement) were overlooked and not always included. in the study was recoded for these three changes.  Subsequently, each of the ads  There were some synonymous terms that  were encountered and considered to possibly fit with an attribute category but not retained.  For  example, “authoritative” was considered but not included for the social skills category. 34  The overall reliabilities for coding the attributes desired by the ad placer were moderate but acceptable (ICC  =  0.731; Pearson’s r  =  0.840). The difference in agreement between the  coders was in the category of “intimate encounters”, specifically in recording the ad placer’s sexually-related interests. The decision was to interpret the section “Interested in” as what the ad placer desires as well as offers, rather than just offers, as had been done in the initial coding. Consequently, the ads in the category of ‘intimate encounters” were recoded reflecting this decision. To assess the main coder’s consistency in coding, a sample of 30 ads was drawn from the previously coded sample and these were coded again. Within coder reliability was high (both ICC and Pearson’s r were 1.0 for the attributes offered and 0.99 for attributes desired).  35  Results Demographic Characteristics by Type ofRelationship and Gender Based on chi square analysis for categorical and t-test for continuous variables, there were no significant differences in demographic characteristics either by type of relationship (see Table 3) or by gender (data not shown). The majority of this sample of ad placers is Caucasian (8 1.7%).  The remaining, in the “other” category (18.3%), in order of frequency are: Asian  (7.5%), mixed ethnicity (4.2%), unspecified (3.3%), East Indian (1.7%), First Nations (0.8%), and Hispanic/Latino (0.8%).  The majority of ad placers (6 1.7%) were non-religious.  The next  largest category (22.5%) was non-Christian religions, consisting of Buddhist (1.7%), Jewish (1.7%), Sikh (0.8%) or non-specified (18.3%).  The age range for inclusion of ad placers was  18 to 39 years old. The mean age was 30.8 years for women and 31.2 for men.  Information on  education, desire for children, and income were available only for the relationship category: ad placers seeking relationships wanted children, were university educated, and were distributed across the three income categories. Analysis Description for Hi to H4 To test Hi and H3, differences in the amount of attributes desired and offered between male and female ad placers were analyzed using t-tests.  For H2 and H4, one-way analysis of  variance was conducted to determine whether the mean scores for the attributes desired and offered differed among the three types of relationship sought (intimate encounter, dating, and relationship).  Post-hoc comparisons were made using Tukey’s HSD test with p set at .05.  Tukey’s HSD test was used because it is commonly employed to compare the means of equal sample sizes (Jones, 2008) and is a conservative test that is sensitive to pair-wise comparisons (Hinton, 2004); both of these criteria apply in the current study.  36  Table 3 Characteristics ofSample: Summary ofDemographic Variables by Type ofRelationship  Type of Relationship Intimate Encounters n = 40  Demographic Variables  Dating n = 40  Relationship n = 40  n  Total = 120  Age (M SD)  30.85 (5.05)  29.90 (5.15)  32.25 (4.48)  Ethnicity (%) Caucasian  82.5  90.0  72.5  81.7  17.5  10.0  27.5  18.3  Non-religious  60.0  67.5  57.5  61.7  Christian  10.0  20.0  17.5  15.8  Other  30.0  12.5  25.0  22.5  n/a  n/a  57.5  n/a  Some postsecondary or less  n/a  n/a  40.0  n/a  University degree and beyond  n/a  n/a  60.0  n/a  Less than $50 000  n/a  n/a  30.0  n/a  $50000to75 000  n/a  n/a  37.5  n/a  More than $75 000  n/a  n/a  32.5  n/a  Other Religion  (%)  Wants Childrena Educationa  Incomea  31.00 (4.96)  (%)  (%)  (%)  alnformation for these variables was available only for the relationship category.  37  Attributes Desired and Offered by Gender  Hi andH3:  Hi stated that men will seek physical attractiveness more than women; women will seek resources, commitment, social skills, social attitudes, and interests more than men.  Based on  analysis using independent t-tests, this hypothesis was not supported as there were no gender differences in the amount of attributes desired.  H3 stated that men will offer more resources  than women; women will offer a greater amount of physical attractiveness, commitment, social skills, social attitudes, and interests than men.  There were no differences by gender in the  amount of these attributes offered. H2: Attributes Desired by Type ofRelationship H2 is concerned with the relationship between type of relationship sought (intimate encounter, dating, and relationship) and attributes desired (physical attractiveness, resources, commitment, social skills, social attitudes, and interests).  It was hypothesized that greater  physical attractiveness would be sought when seeking an intimate encounter and to date; in general, more resources, commitment, social skills, social attitudes, and interests will be sought when seeking a relationship. Five out of seven categories of attributes desired were significant: commitment, social skills, social attitudes, interests, and total attributes desired (see Table 4). not significant for physical attractiveness, F(2, 117)  =  1.06, p  >  The analyses were  .05, and resources F(2, 117)  =  2.O2,p> .05. Attribute desired: Commitment. type of relationship, F(2, 117)  =  6.73, p  The amount of commitment desired differed by the <  .01.  Ad placers in the relationship category (M  1.53) desired significantly more commitment than those in the intimate encounter (M = 0.55) and dating (M  =  0.73) categories (see Table 4).  The intimate encounter category was not  significantly different from the dating category.  38  total desiredhatp  <  .001.  Note: Means with the same subscript differ significantly at p  <  .05, except commitmenta and social skillsd at p  <  1-14 3.43 35 . 6 h  0-15 3.93  ° 8 . 3 h  5-17  90 . 9 h  Total Desired  3.02  0-9  2.40 ’ l.’l j 3  0-13 2.40  g 83 °•  2-17  .S°fg 7  Interests  3.00  0-4  1.03 0.78e  0-2  0.54  0.25e  0-3  08 1.51 cd 93 ‘•  0-4  1.23  0.72  0.50  Social Attitudes  d 93 °.  0-6  0.90  Social Skills  1.17  06 1.66 ab 53 ‘.  0-4  1.04  b 73 °•  0-5  0.55a  Commitment  0.99  0-2 0.50  0.18  0-1  0.27  0.08  0-1  0.03  Resources  0.16  0-4 0.91  0.53  0-3  0.68  0.23  0-3  0.71  0.43  PhysicalAttractiveness  Range  SD  Relationship n=40 M  Range  SD  Range  SD  M  Attributes Desired  Dating n40 M  Intimate Encounter n40  Type of Relationship  Means ofAttributes Desired by Type ofRelationshz Sought  Table 4  39  .01, and interestsg and  Attribute desired: Social skills. relationship, F(2, 117)  =  7.95, p  The amount of social skills desired differed by type of  .01.  <  Ad placers in the relationship category (M= 1.93)  desired significantly more social skills than those in the intimate encounter (M= 0.90) and dating (M= 0.93) categories (see Table 4).  The intimate encounter category was not significantly  different from the dating category. Attribute desired: Social attitudes. type of relationship, F(2, 117)  =  4.45, p  <  The number of social attitudes desired differed by .05.  Ad placers in the relationship category (M =  0.78) desired significantly more indicators of social attitudes than the dating category (M= 0.25) (see Table 4).  The intimate encounter category (M = 0.50) was not significantly different from  either the dating or the relationship category. Attribute desired: Interests. relationship, F(2, 117)  =  80.42, p  <  The number of interests sought differed by type of .001.  Ad placers in the intimate encounter (M= 7.50)  category desired more interests from their potential partner than those in the dating (M= 0.83) and relationship (M= 1.43) categories (see Table 4).  There were no significant differences in  the number of interests desired between the dating and relationship categories. Total attributes desired.  The number of total attributes desired, which is a composite of  all attributes desired, differed by type of relationship, F(2, 117) comparisons were significant (see Table 4).  =  38.47, p  <  .001.  All  Ad placers in the intimate encounter (M = 9.90)  category desired more attributes than those in the dating (M = 3.08) and relationship (M = 6.35) categories.  Ad placers in the relationship category desired more attributes than those in the  dating category. H4: Attributes Offered By Type ofRelationshz H4 speculates on the relationship between the type of relationship sought (intimate encounter, dating, and relationship) and the amount of attributes offered.  H4 stated that  physical attractiveness will be offered when seeking an intimate encounter and to date; in general, 40  more resources, commitment, social skills, social attitudes, and interests will be offered when Based on one-way ANOVA calculations, the analyses for the attributes  seeking a relationship.  of physical attractiveness, F(2, 117) >  O.24,p > .05, and social attitudes, F(2,  =  .05, were not significant (see Table 5).  117)  =  The remaining four categories of attributes and the  total amount of attributes offered were significant. Attribute offered: Resources. relationship, F(2, 117)  =  39.45, p  <  The number of resources differed by the type of .001.  Ad placers in the relationship category (M = 1.73)  offered significantly more resources than those in the intimate encounter (M= 0.25) and dating (M= 0.58) categories (see Table 5).  The intimate encounter category was not significantly  different from the dating category. The amount of commitment offered differed by the type  Attribute offered: Commitment. of relationship, F(2, 117)  =  l5.l7’,p  <  Ad placers in the relationship (M= 2.20) and the  .001.  dating categories (M = 1.70) desired significantly more commitment than those in the intimate encounter (M = 0.30) category (see Table 5).  The relationship category was not significantly  different from the dating category. Attribute offered: Social skills. relationship, F(2, 117)  =  18.76, p  <  The amount of social skills offered differed by type of  .00 1.  All comparisons were significant (see Table 5).  Ad  placers offered more social skills when seeking a relationship (M= 2.53) than seeking a date (M =  1.73) or an intimate encounter (M= 0.68).  Ad placers offered more social skills in the dating  than the intimate encounter category. Attribute offered: Interests. relationship, F(2, 117)  =  42.94, p  <  The number of interests offered differed by type of .00 1.  Ad placers offered a greater number of interests when  seeking a relationship (M= 30.50) than when seeking a date (M= 20.30) or an intimate encounter (M= 7.78) (see Table 5).  Ad placers in the dating category offered a greater number  of interests than those in the intimate encounter category. 41  555  12.84  <  0 3 g 1 1 6 •  . 5 O 3 O  0-71 11-83  13.89 15.29  0-6  0-7  .001, except social skills and overall mentioned atp  3 g 5 . 27  5-30  4.39  12.20g  Note: Means with the same subscript differ significantly atp  Total Offered  0-44  12.67  . 3 O 2 O j’  2-16  2.93  . 78 ’ 7  Interests  1.05  2.68 1-6  0.86  2.35  0-5  0.69  2.20  SocialAttitudes  1.57 2.53e  0-5  1.20  1.73e  040 2.37  07  20 • 2 d  1.27  0.68e  Social Skills  0-5  1.11  l.70  0-4  04 1.01  0.91  cd 30 °•  Commitment  ab 73 ‘•  02  0.64  b 58 °•  0-3  0.88  1.00  0-4  0.94  0.88  0-3  Range  SD  M  Range  SD  M  0.63  0.25a  Resources  Range 0-3  SD  Relationship n=40  Dating n40  Type of Relationship  0.96  1.00  M  Physical Attractiveness  Attributes Offered  Intimate Encounter n=40  Means ofAttributes Offered by Type ofRelationship Sought  Table 5  <  .05.  42  Total attributes offered. relationship, F(2, 117)  =  58.14, p  The number of total attributes offered differed by type of <  .001.  Ad placers offered significantly more attributes when  seeking a relationship (M= 40.63) than a date (M= 27.53) or an intimate encounter (M= 12,20) (see Table 5).  Ad placers also offered significantly more attributes when seeking a date than an  intimate encounter. Analysis Description for H2a and H4a Hierarchical and logistic regression analyses were conducted for H2a and H4a, which proposed that gender moderated the relationship between attributes and the type of relationship sought.  Logistic regression was used for the outcome variables with skewed distributions  indicating that the assumptions of normality and homoscedasticity would not be met for hierarchical regression analysis.  These variables were recoded into dichotomous variables for  logistic regression analysis (see Appendix B).  The remaining continuous dependent variables  were analyzed using hierarchical regression. A regression analysis was not done for the outcome variable, resources desired, because the majority of the sample (92.5%) did not mention desiring resources.  Cross-tabulations showed that individual cells had fewer than acceptable cases or  zero cases in some cells, resulting in a lack of data for analysis. Separate regressions were run for each type of attribute desired and offered.  For all  regression models, the following three blocks were entered: 1) age, as a control variable, 2) gender (female  =  0, male  =  1) and type of relationship, with the latter consisting of two dummy  variables (intimate encounter = 1, dating  2) with the omitted category being relationship, and  3) two interaction terms, involving the variables, type of relationship and gender (intimate encounter by gender and dating by gender).  For H2a, it is proposed that male ad placers will go  from seeking a low to a higher level of attributes when the type of relationship sought goes from an intimate encounter and to date to seeking a relationship whereas female ad placers will seek a constant high level of attributes regardless of type of relationship sought.  It is speculated for 43  H4a that female ad placers will offer a constant level of resources regardless of the type of relationship sought, whereas male ad placers will offer a low to higher level of resources when seeking an intimate encounter and a date, which are comparable, short-term durations when compared to a relationship.  This analysis also provides an assessment of the relative  contribution of each independent variable when all of the selected demographic variables are included. Logistic Regression Analysis: Interpreting the Results The logistic regression results will be interpreted using the odds ratio,  eB.  A significant  odds ratio with a value below 1 means that the independent variable decreases the odds of the dependent variable, whereas an odds ratio of greater than 1 means that the independent variable increases the odds (Crosnoe, Mistry, Elder, 2002). exponentiating the B coefficient.  The odds ratio can be calculated by  The coefficient itself is not used because it is in log-odds units,  which can lead to an awkward interpretation.  Thus, the odds ratio is preferred, representing the  odds of Y, for every unit increase in X, net of other predictors in the model (DeMaris, 1995). For dummy coefficients, a unit difference in X is the difference between membership in category X and membership in the omitted reference category. H2a: Attributes Desired Using Logistic Regression Attributes desired. Physical attractiveness.  The type of relationship sought was not a  significant predictor of physical attractiveness desired.  Also, gender did not moderate the  relationship (see Table 6). Atfributes desired: Commitment. predictor of commitment (see Table 6).  The type of relationship sought was a significant For ad placers seeking an intimate encounter versus a  relationship, the odds of desiring commitment are decreased by e(-1.43)  =  0.24.  Alternatively,  this result can be expressed as the percentage in the odds for each unit increase in X with the equation, 100(eB 1). -  When this result is expressed as a percentage change, for ad placers 44  =  *p<.05.  category.  27.5  6  6.01  eB  exponentiated B.  -0.68  6 4  **p<.Ol.  ***p<.Ool.  1.24  0.68  0.31  0.29  1.56  45  Gender is coded with male as the reference  49.2  13.58*  -0.69 13.15*  Type of relationship is dummy coded with relationship as the reference category.  Note: % desired  0.62  percentage of ad placers desiring the attribute.  4  df  % desired  4.41  0.76  2 x  Constant  0.96  0.21  1.12  1.10  -1.16  Datingxgender  0.97  -0.39  0.67  0.70  1.18  0.98  -1.07  -1.24  0.44  0.67 0.34  0.24  1.47  -1.19 0.48  1.07*  0.24  0.77  -0.37  0.39  0.55  Intimate  Dating -0.94 Type of relationship x gender Intimate x gender  0.39 0.48  0.39 1.43**  1.18 0.45  0.70 0.70  0.75 0.47  1.07 0.93  0.42 0.49  0.07  Commitment Interaction Model Main Model SEB B SEB B e’ 1.04 0.04 0.04 0.04 1.04 0.04  -0.07  Type of relationship  Gender Female  Predictor Age  Physical_Attractiveness Interaction Model Main Model SEB B e SEB B -0.05 0.04 0.95 0.95 -0.05 0.04  Logistic Regression: Main Effect and Interaction Models for Physical Attractiveness and Commitment Desired (N=]20)  Table 6  seeking an intimate encounter versus a relationship, the odds of desiring commitment are changed by 100(e 143  -  1)  =  -76.1% or reduced by 76.1%.  Therefore, ad placers seeking an  intimate encounter are significantly less likely to desire commitment. For ad placers seeking to date versus having a relationship, the odds of desiring commitment are decreased by 0.34; expressed as a percentage change, for ad placers seeking to date versus a relationship, the odds of desiring commitment are reduced by 65.7%. ad placers seeking to date are significantly less likely to desire commitment. model was significant but gender was not a significant moderator variable.  Therefore,  The interaction In the interaction  model, the effect of type of relationship sought disappeared. Attributes desired: Social skills. predictor (see Table 7).  The type of relationship sought was a significant  For ad placers seeking an intimate encounter versus a relationship, the  odds of desiring social skills is decreased by 0.15; expressed as a percentage change, the odds of desiring social skills are reduced by 85.2%.  Therefore, ad placers seeking an intimate  encounter are significantly less likely than those seeking a relationship to desire social skills in a partner. For ad placers seeking to date versus a relationship, the odds of desiring social skills is decreased by 0.10; expressed as a percentage change, the odds of desiring social skills is reduced by 90.0%.  Therefore, ad placers seeking to date are significantly less likely than those seeking  a relationship to desire social skills.  The interaction model was significant.  However, gender  was not found to play a significant moderating role. Attributes desired: Social attitudes.  The type of relationship sought was a significant  predictor of social attitudes desired, and the main effect model was significant (see Table 7). For ad placers seeking to date versus a relationship, the odds of desiring social attitude attributes is decreased by 0.25; expressed as a percentage change, the odds of desiring social skills is reduced by 74.8%.  Ad placers seeking to date are significantly less likely than those seeking a 46  *p<.05.  category.  =  percentage of ad placers desiring the attribute.  =  exponentiated B.  **p<.Ol.  ***p<.OOl.  36.7  47  Gender is coded with male as the reference  Type of relationship is dummy coded with relationship as the reference category.  Note: % desired  65.0  6 4 6  4  df  % desired  11.45  -0.51 9.84*  -0.56 21.67**  1.55 21.07***  1.70  2 x  Constant  2.63  1.10 0.97 0.55  1.36  -0.59  0.25  0.68  0.52  1.38**  0.91  0.46  -0.40  -0.38  0.82  1.48  0.37  0.64  0.14  0.39  0.87  0.67  1.60  l.98*  Datingxgender  0.10  1.37  0.63  0.40  0.64  0.47  Social Attitudes Interaction Model Main Model eB B SEB e’ B SEB 0.04 1.01 1.01 0.01 0.01 0.04  -0.20  -0.99  2.31*** Dating Type of relationship x gender  Intimate  Intimate x gender  0.22  3.33  0.12  1.20  0.78  1.20  2.l3**  0.15  1.69 0.77  0.62  0.42  11 e 1.01  Interaction Model e’ B SEB 1.01 0.04 0.01  1.53*  l.91**  0.52  Gender Female  Type of relationship  B 0.01  Predictor Age  Main Model SEB 0.04  Social Skills  Logistic Regression: Main Effect and Interaction Models for Social Skills and Social Attitudes Desired (N120)  Table 7  relationship to desire social skills.  Gender was not found to moderate this relationship.  H2a: Attributes Desired Using Hierarchical Regression Attributes desired: Interests. The type of relationship sought significantly predicted the number of interests; the main effect model was significant (see Table 8).  Ad placers seeking  an intimate encounter identified a greater number of interests desired than those seeking a relationship.  Age, gender, and the type of relationship sought accounted for 58% of the  variance in the number of interests desired, F (4, 115)  =  40.01, p  <  .001).  However, gender did  not moderate the relationship between number of interests desired and the type of relationship sought. Total attributes desired.  As shown in Table 8, ad placers seeking an intimate encounter  desired more total attributes in a partner than those seeking a relationship.  On the other hand,  ad placers seeking to date desired fewer total attributes in a partner than those seeking a relationship.  Age, gender, and the type of relationship sought accounted for 40% of the  variance in attributes desired, F (4, 115)  =  9.Ol,p 1  <  .001).  The interaction model was not  significant, indicating that gender was not a moderator for this relationship. H4a: Attributes Offered Using Logistic Regression Attributes offered: Physical attractiveness.  The type of relationship sought was not a  significant predictor of physical attractiveness desired.  Also, gender did not moderate the  relationship (see Table 9). Attributes offered: Resources. predictor of resources.  The type of relationship sought was a significant  The main effect and interaction models were significant (see Table 9).  For ad placers seeking an intimate encounter versus a relationship, the odds of offering resources is decreased by .07.  When this result is expressed as a percentage change for ad placers seeking  an intimate encounter versus a relationship, the odds of offering resources are reduced by 93.3%. Therefore, ad placers seeking an intimate encounter are significantly less likely to 48  0.03  53.32***  *p<.05.  **p<.Ol.  ***p<.OOl.  Note: Type of relationship is dummy coded with relationship as the reference category.  .58  .58  .40 0.24  .40 24.95***  0.01  1.58 0.20 0.03 1.18  0.27  Datingxgender  2 F for change in R  2 R  0.07  1.59 0.84  49  0.33**  0.01  1.14  0.34**  -0.01  1.19  -3.11  0.34** 0.80  -3.21  -0.08  1.13  1.12  0.11  3.17  0.38***  -0.07  0.02  0.80  0.64  3.59  0.14  0.72***  0.03  Total Desired Interaction Model Main Model SEB B SEB B .07 0.03 0.03 0.07 0.03 0.03  120)  Intimatexgender  x gender  Type of relationship  0.85  -0.70  -0.07  0.60  -0.56  Dating  0.85  6.04  0.73***  0.59  6.10  Intimate  0.27  0.84  Interaction Model SEB B 0.02 0.05 0.02  0.05  0.48  0.39  Gender Female Type of relationship  Main Model SEB 0.02 0.05  B 0.02  Variable Age  Interests  Hierarchical Regression: Main Effect and Interaction Modelsfor Interests and Total Attributes Desired (N  Table 8  p< .05.  category.  =  0.01  65.0  6  5.85  0.97  0.97  -0.88 -1.50  0.70  0.70  0.68  0.51  0.49  0.21  0.22  0.42  1.66  1.62  1.23  percentage of ad placers desiring the attribute.  0.76  1.04  0.56  eB  =  4  50.46***  0.64  exponentiated B.  4.51  2.42***  0.70  0.46  .01.  .001.  4.90  52.5  6  60.54***  1.39  1.69  3.66* -0.10  0.81  0.81  1.21  2.59**  2.70**  1.34  0.91  0.03  0.08  0.07  3.81  Interaction Model eB SEB 0.05 0,91  50  Gender is coded with male as the reference  0.09  0.02  1.31  B -0.10  Resources Main Effect Model SEB 0.05 0.93  3•95***  0.27  B -0.08  Type of relationship is dummy coded with relationship as the reference category.  Note: % offered  % offered  4  df  0.48  0.49  0.39  3.39  0.27  -0.27  0.04  -0.59  2 x  Constant  Datingxgender  Dating Type of relationship x gender Intimate x gender  Intimate  Gender Female Type of relationship  Predictor Age  Physical Attractiveness Main Effect Model Interaction Model e B SEB BSEB 0.02 0.04 1.02 0.02 0.04 1.02  Logistic Regression: Main Effect and Interaction Models for Physical Attractiveness and Resources Offered  Table 9  offer resources. For ad placers seeking to date versus a relationship, the odds of offering financial resources is decreased by .08 (see Table 9).  When this result is expressed as a percentage  change, the odds of offering resources are reduced by 92.5%.  Therefore, ad placers seeking to  date are significantly less likely than those seeking a relationship to offer resources. There was an interaction of gender for the intimate encounter relationship (see Table 9). To further examine this interaction, the data file was sorted by gender, and separate regressions were run: one with male ad placers and the other with female ad placers. were regressed on type of relationship sought.  Resources offered  Type of relationship (intimate encounter vs.  relationship) was a significant predictor in both regressions.  For female ad placers seeking an  intimate encounter versus a relationship, the odds of offering resources is decreased by .001 (B -6.64, p  <  .00 1).  =  For male ad placers seeking an intimate encounter versus a relationship, the  odds of offering resources is decreased by .02 (B  =  -3.95, p  <  .00 1).  These results indicate that  both men and women are less likely to offer resources when seeking an intimate encounter versus a relationship. lower.  The odds for men and women differ, with the odds for the women being  The significant interaction shows this difference, indicating that among female ad  placers seeking an intimate encounter, the odds of offering resources is decreased by e(-3.66) =  .03.  Women compared to men looking for an intimate encounter versus a relationship are  especially unlikely to offer resources. Attributes offered: Commitment. predictor of commitment.  The type of relationship sought was a significant  The main effect model was significant (see Table 10).  For ad  placers seeking an intimate encounter versus a relationship, the odds of offering commitment is decreased by .06.  When this result is expressed as a percentage change, for ad placers seeking  an intimate encounter versus a relationship, the odds of offering commitment are reduced by 94.2%.  Therefore, ad placers seeking an intimate encounter are significantly less likely to offer 51  =  59.2 eB  =  exponentiated B.  0.34  0.04  0.64  0.49  46.7  6  37.10***  0.27  1.01 -1.31  0.14  1.25  -1.97  2.30  0.09  6.62  1.27  0.87  8.94  0.83  2.41**  1.89  being the reference category; *p<.05. **p<.Ol. ***p< .001. 52  The dependent variable, social skills, is  Gender is coded with male as the reference  4  3799***  0.86  0.80  0.50  Type of relationship is dummy coded with relationship as the reference category.  6  59.41***  1.30  -1.07  333***  -0.44  Social Skills Main Effect Model Interaction Model B SEB B SEB e’ 0.06 0.05 1.06 0.05 0.05 1.06  dichotomously coded as offering social skills more than once being the predicted category and offering social skills one time or less  category.  Note: % offered  -2.42  percentage of ad placers desiring the attribute.  4  df  %offered  58.23***  2 x  -2.49  3.75  1.27  1.32  Datingxgender  Constant  2.15  1.19  1.73  0.04  0.76  3.26  0.87  3.26***  0.51  0.86  0.64  0.06  0.60  0.77  -0.68  0.55  1.18  0.90  0.50  Dating Type of relationship x gender Intimatexgender  Gender Female -0.10 Type of relationship 2.85*** Intimate  Predictor Age  Commitment Main Effect Model Interaction Model SEB B SEB e’ B 11 e 0.12* 0.12* 1.12 0.06 1.13 0.05  Logistic Regression: Main Effect and Interaction Models for Commitment and Social Skills Offered  Table 10  commitment.  The interaction model was significant but gender was not a significant moderator  variable. Attributes offered. Social skills. The measure for social skills was split at the median: the predicted category represents offering social skills more than once, and the reference category represents offering social skills one time or less. median to solve the problem of low cell frequencies.  The categories were split at the  When this action is not taken, the result is  an unstable logistic model with implausibly large B coefficients and odds ratios for the independent variables (Garson, 2009). The type of relationship sought was a significant predictor for social skills and the main effect model was significant (see Table 10).  For ad placers seeking an intimate encounter  versus a relationship, the odds of offering social skills more than once is decreased by .04; expressed as a percentage change, the odds of offering social skills more than once are reduced by 96.4%.  Therefore, ad placers seeking an intimate encounter are significantly less likely to  offer social skills more than once.  The interaction model was significant but gender was not  found to play a significant moderating role. H4a: Attributes Offered Using Hierarchical Regression Attributes offered: Social attitudes. Table 11).  The main effect model was not significant (see  Ad placers seeking an intimate encounter offered significantly fewer social attitudes  than those seeking a relationship.  The interaction model was not significant, indicating that  gender was not a moderator for this relationship. Attributes offered: Interests.  The type of relationship sought was a significant predictor  and the main effect model was significant (see Table 11).  Ad placers seeking an intimate  encounter and to date identified fewer interests than those seeking a relationship.  Age, gender,  and the type of relationship sought accounted for 43% of the variance in interests offered  53  0.36  27.76*** 1.19  2.32  2 FforchangeinR  *p<.05.  **p<.Ol.  ***p<.OOl.  Note: Type of relationship is dummy coded with relationship as the reference category.  .43 .43  .08  .06  -0.10 4.98 -3.80  0.26*  0.16  2 R  0.39  0.39  Datingxgender  3.57  -0.01  -7.91  54  0.74***  4.99  0.32***  3.55  -0.00  -0.33  2.52  -22.33  2.48 0.74***  3.51  Interaction Model SEB 0.21 0.06  -0.03  B 0.17  2.02 -0.05  Main Model SEB 0.21 0.06  Interests  0.25  -9.83  0.28 0.30*  0.40  -22.50  0.28 0.43**  0.60  -1.41  B 0.16  0.28 -0.15  Intimate x gender  Type of relationship x gender  -0.57  -0.20  0.20  -0.37  Dating  -0.81  0.27*  0.20  -0.50  Intimate  -0.27  -0.03  0.16  0.06  Gender Female Type of relationship  Variable Age  Social Attitudes Interaction Model Main Model B SEB SEB B fi -0.02 0.02 -0.12 -0.02 0.02 -0.11  Hierarchical Regression: Main Effect and Interaction Models for Social Attitudes and Interests Offered (N = 120)  Table 11  F(4, 115)  =  21.55, p  <  .001).  The interaction model was not significant indicating that gender  was not a moderator of this relationship. Thtal attributes offered.  The type of relationship sought was a significant predictor and  the main effect model was significant (see Table 12).  Ad placers seeking an intimate encounter  and to date offered significantly fewer attributes than those ad placers seeking a relationship. Age, gender, and the type of relationship sought accounted for 51% of the variance in attributes offered, F (4, 115)  =  29/51, p  <  .00 1).  The interaction model was not significant, indicating that  gender was not a moderator for this relationship.  55  .51  *p<.05. **p<.Ol. ***p<.OOl.  Note: Type of relationship is dummy coded with relationship as the reference category.  37.61***  0.00  -0.03 5.32 .51 -1.35  Dating x gender  2 Ffor change mR  2 R  0.07 5.33  0.34**  -0.07  3.28  3.82  3.80  3.76  Interaction Model SEB 0.08 0.23  Intimate x gender  Type of relationship x gender  -11.84  0.36***  2.70  -12.49  Dating  -29.72  0.80***  2.66  -28.06  Intimate  B 0.25  -2.30  fi  Total Offered  -0.05  2.16  -1.66  0.26  B  Gender Female Type of relationship  Variable Age  Main Model SEB 0.08 0.22  Hierarchical Regression: Main Effect and Interaction Models for Total Attributes Offered (N = 120)  Table 12  56  Discussion The current study explored how gender and type of relationship sought relate to attributes desired arid offered by online ad placers.  Hypotheses were formulated using Sexual Strategies  Theory (Buss, 1994) and research on mating preferences.  The results are considered in the  context of this theory, along with alternative explanations. Gender and Attributes Desired and Offered The results did not support Hi, that men will seek physical attractiveness more than women, while women, more than men, will seek resources, commitment, social skills, social attitudes, and interests.  Also, results did not support H3, that men will offer resources more  than women, while women, more than men, will offer physical attractiveness, commitment, social skills, social attitudes, and interests.  The data indicate that there are no differences by  gender for attributes desired and offered, contrary to existing research (Buss, 1994; Dawson & Macintosh, 2006; Hatfield & Sprecher, 1995; Pawlowski & Koziel, 2002; Steinfirst & Moran, 1989). The lack of gender differences, particularly for physical attractiveness desired and offered, was identified as due to modesty for a sample of Muslim ad placers who identified religion as what they desired and offered in seeking a relationship (Badahdah & Tiemann (2005). more than men, desired and offered a religious mate.  Women,  Muslims follow Islamic teachings which  emphasize modesty when it comes to displaying and seeking beauty.  However, religion as an  explanation may not apply to the current study because a large majority of online ad placers reported being non-religious.  A study using both paper and online ads in Sweden also yielded  no gender differences in physical attractiveness desired and offered by the ad placers (Gustavsson, Johnsson, & Uller, 2008). offered as a possible explanation.  Social factors that vary across cultural contexts were  For example, the amount of exposure to physically attractive  people in the media depends on societal values and practices of each society (Hetsroni, 2000). 57  Similarly, the lack of gender difference for resources may suggest societal factors at work. For example, greater gender equality within a society means that women possess and control resources, which may lead them to emphasize less the importance of finding a partner with resources.  Alternatively, women seek physical attractiveness because they have the resources  to care for themselves and offspring (Moore, Cassidy, Smith, & Perrett, 2005).  In response,  men are aware of these changes and are offering physical attractiveness and other attributes more than in the past (Gustavsson, 2008). Another perspective, proposed by Jagger (1998), suggests that men and women are moving away from traditional sex roles or at least extending the meanings of masculinity and femininity.  As a result, a softer, nurturing, and more emotional type of man has appeared  (Mort, 1996) in ad descriptions.  In turn, women are describing themselves as career-oriented  and active individuals (McRobbie, 1994). The other attributes of commitment, social skills, social attitudes, and interests, have not been examined as thoroughly in research, with the exception of commitment.  The lack of  gender differences for these and the previously discussed attributes may be closely linked with age, since the age range of 18 to 39 was selected for the current study.  Waynforth and Dunbar  (1995) found that men sought the most attributes during their forties but were steady in their demand for attributes in the years before and after their forties.  Women were most demanding  during their twenties and thirties but the number of attributes desired and offered declined after their thirties, with the exception of commitment.  Due to the age range selected, ads by ad  placers in their forties were not sampled, which is where gender differences may have appeared. The lack of gender differences is contrary to Sexual Strategies Theory (SST) (Buss, 1994). SST is based on the theory of parental investment and sexual selection which puts forth that gender differences exist in mate preferences (Trivers, 1972).  Gender differences are due to the  varying level of parental investment required of each gender in producing offspring with women 58  investing more than men.  The findings question the view that men and women assume very  different roles when faced with a mating situation, as proposed by the evolutionary perspective. Perhaps, cultural and social factors are eroding these once firm roles. It may be that gender differences are flexible, shifting, or persisting.  It is beyond the scope of this study to determine  what exactly is occurring although there appears to be some elasticity in gender differences among mate preferences. Type ofRelationship and Attributes Desired and Offered H2 was partially supported: those seeking a relationship desired more commitment, social skills, and social attitudes; however, those seeking a relationship did not desire more physical attractiveness, resources, interests, and total attributes as was hypothesized.  H4 was partially  supported: those seeking a relationship offered more resources, commitment, social skills, interests, and total attributes; however, those seeking a relationship did not offer more physical attractiveness and social attitudes.  The findings regarding commitment and resources support  Sexual Strategies Theory (Buss, 1994). long-term context.  Commitment is important to both men and women in a  Mention of resources is also prevalent in a long-term context.  Physical attractiveness was not desired more in a short-term than a long-term partner, as had been hypothesized.  This finding does not fit SST or research that found physical  attractiveness to be important when considering a short-term partner (Buss, 1994).  A possible  reason may be that participants are choosing to pay less attention to physical attractiveness because one can easily misrepresent themselves.  This is a common criticism aimed at paper ads  (Waynforth & Dunbar, 1995), which can be applied to online ads (Brym & Lenton, 2001). The findings that social skills and social attitudes were more highly valued when seeking a relationship of longer than shorter duration is consistent with previous research (Kenrick at al., 1990; Kenrick et al., 1993; Regan, 1998).  In these studies physical attractiveness and resources  were still rated more highly than social skills and social attitudes which is the reverse in the 59  current study.  The social skills category aids in getting along with a partner and keeping a  partner entertained while the social attitudes category is about sharing one’s lifestyle.  Both  would be useful at the start of and for maintaining relationships but most likely more useful for maintaining a long- term relationship. The current findings indicate that attributes linked to behaviour may be growing in value in the long-term to ad placers. Social skills and social attitudes are not addressed in SST.  It is likely that offering and  seeking these attributes are of value in the long-term to both genders.  For example, SST  identifies that both genders seek a mate with good parenting skills which ensures offspring are well taken care of.  A case can be made that when seeking a long-term mate, future relationship  dissolution is an issue that would affect properly caring for offspring.  Safeguarding against  dissolution would help to maintain parental involvement and investment for offspring.  Parental  involvement is sought by both genders and can be more easily achieved if a partnership is stable. Kenrick and colleagues (1993) note that seeking a partner who is easy to get along with is an adaptive and useful tendency to encourage pair permanence.  The findings suggest that social  skills and social attitudes are valued attributes when considering a long-term relationship. Additionally, two findings involving attributes desired by the type of relationship sought were unexpected and did not support H4.  One finding was that more interests were desired  when seeking an intimate encounter than when seeking a date and a relationship.  The second  rmding was that ad placers described more attributes desired in a partner when seeking an intimate encounter than either a date or a relationship. A possible explanation may have to do with how the online ads were structured for each relationship category.  Ad placers seeking an  intimate encounter mentioned sexual preferences in their ads and these were coded as “interests”. The structure of the ad for seeking an intimate encounter consisted mainly of sections asking about sexual interests and preferences, which may have encouraged more sharing and kept the ad placer focused on those topics.  In contrast, the structure of the ads for seeking a date and a 60  relationship contained more sections that encouraged ad placers to share a variety of attributes and interests, such as ideal date preferences and values.  Ad placers seeking a date or a  relationship may have chosen to be more succinct in their ads, having a strong sense of what they sought in a dating and long-term partner whereas ad placers seeking intimate encounters were more verbose, and provided a listing of a variety of preferences. These considerations may have contributed to both of these unexpected findings. These findings on attributes desired fit with SST, considering that a number of the interests desired and offered were sexually-related.  Research and SST (Buss & Schmidt, 1993)  indicate that men favour women who are promiscuous and have sexual experience when seeking a short-term relationship.  The high occurrence of interests desired and offered in the results is  indicative of sexual willingness and experience by ad placers.  Displaying and expressing  sexual knowledge and experience in intimate encounter ads appropriately signalled sexual willingness. Another possible explanation may be changing sexual attitudes.  Evidence suggests that  the sexual attitudes of men and women are converging (Herold & Mewhinney, 1993; Hendrick & Hendrick, 1987).  Herold and Mewhinney (1993) surveyed Canadian dating bar regulars and  found no gender difference in the number of casual sex partners and life-long sex partners Women appear to have a more permissive attitude towards casual sex, which means  reported.  they too are seeking casual sexual encounters, supporting the finding of a high number of sexually-related interests in intimate encounter ads with no gender difference. Within the hypothesized relationships for H2 and H4, the expected pattern was that more attributes would be desired or offered in relationships, followed by dating, and intimate encounters.  This was the general pattern found for these desired attributes: resources,  commitment, social skills, and interests. For physical attractiveness, social attitudes, and interests, the pattern was intimate encounters, relationships, then dating.  Five out of six of the attributes 61  were offered in this order: relationship, dating, then intimate encounter.  The exception was  physical attractiveness which was offered at the same level in both the intimate encounter and relationship ads. The emphasis on physical attractiveness when seeking an intimate encounter and a relationship supports Sexual Strategies Theory (Buss, 1994).  The theory identifies physical  attractiveness being more important in the short-term although the attribute is valued in the long-term, as well.  Specifically, SST indicates that men use physical attractiveness as a cue for  fertility and fecundity in women when seeking short term mating relationships (Buss, 1994). Existing research (Buss, 1994; Kenrick et al., 1993) also indicates that women desire more physical attractiveness in relationships of shorter duration. The trend of more attributes desired and offered in a longer relationship fits with research (Kenrick et al., 1993; Stewart et al., 2000) and SST.  A possible explanation for  interests and social attitudes not being desired more in relationships is that intimate encounter ads are focused on sexually-related activities and preferences.  Also, social attitudes are  concerned with lifestyle choices, such as practicing safe sex, drinking habits, and having good hygiene, which may be of particular importance to ad placers seeking sexual relations. Consequently, ad placers already explicitly seeking sexual relations would also not be shy about seeking a person whose lifestyle choices and practice match theirs, in regards to sexual practices. The low levels of physical attractiveness desired and offered, although most mentioned in intimate encounter ads, are contrary to SST. becoming less of a focus.  The implication is that physical attractiveness is  The current study joins a small group of studies (Badahdah &  Tiemann, 2005; Gustavsson et al., 2008; Jagger, 1998) yielding a similar result although overwhelming research suggests otherwise (Matthews, 1999; Rusu & Bencic, 2007; Smith et al., 1990; Steinfirst & Moran, 1989; Strassberg & Holty, 2003). Alternatively, social skills, social attitudes, interests, and commitment are highly desired 62  and offered according to the results.  The latter attribute, also known as family orientation, is  more widely researched whereas the other three have been scarcely studied. that people are attentive to these attributes.  The results suggest  Unlike SST theory based research where there is  clear delineation between men and women desiring and offering specific attributes, these results imply something different. The most valued attributes, social skills, social attitudes, interests, and commitment, indicate a potential shift in mate preferences. with how one behaves.  All these attributes are intrinsic, having to do  People are sharing how they get along with others, what they like to do  and that they are looking for the same in a potential partner.  These mate preferences can be  explained by the similarity principle, that people are attracted to those who are similar to themselves.  Similarity is argued to be attractive because it serves an adaptive function, such as  facilitating couple interactions, cultivating a sense of familiarity and safety, and validating one’s self-concepts (Byrne, 1971).  Another view on this principle is balance theory, which says that  when similar individuals get together they form a balanced system and enjoy harmony and positive feelings (Heider, 1958). discomfort for the individuals.  An imbalanced partnership would cause psychological The particular attributes expressed in this study can be  understood as individuals seeking out individuals who share similar social skills, social attitudes, interests, and commitment/family orientation as themselves. Gender as a Moderator Gender was proposed as a moderator of the relationship between the type of relationship sought and the attributes desired (H2a) and attributes offered (H4a). supported a moderating effect by gender on resources offered.  The results partially  Specifically, H4a predicted that  female ad placers will offer a constant level of resources regardless of the type of relationship sought, whereas male ad placers will offer a low to higher level of resources when seeking an intimate encounter and a date to a relationship.  The hypothesis was partially supported: there 63  was an interaction by gender for the intimate encounter relationship. Male ad placers looking for an intimate encounter were more likely to offer resources than female ad placers; however, both genders were less likely to offer resources when seeking an intimate encounter relative to those seeking a relationship.  This finding supports SST, which states that in the short-term men aim  to minimize offering resources. Adding to existing research on gender differences (Bereczkei et al., 197; Dawson & Macintosh, 2006; Pawlowski & Koziel, 2002), this finding shows that men are continuing to emphasize offering resources. For H2a, it was hypothesized that male ad placers will go from seeking a low to a high level of attributes when the type of relationship sought goes from an intimate encounter and a date to a relationship whereas female ad placers will seek a constant high level of attributes regardless of the type of relationship sought.  Gender was not a moderator.  This finding goes  against SST and research (Buss, 1994, Kenrick et al., 1990; Kenrick et al., 1993; Regan, 1998) that finds men to be less discriminating when seeking a short-term mating partner but more demanding when seeking a long-term mating partner.  This finding also goes against the theory  which stresses that resources are valued by women in all types of relationships.  The sampling  decision to only collect ads by ad placers between the ages of 18 to 39 may have contributed. Research (Waynforth & Dunbar, 1995) indicates a gender difference for attributes desired for older ages, the forties and beyond. a partner.  Men in their forties are the most demanding of attributes in  Ad placers in their forties are experiencing a different life stage than those in their  thirties, arguably and studying these ads may reveal the differences among men and women. The lack of a moderating effect by gender may indicate that resources are no longer an attribute of value.  The current sample may be unique in that the majority of individuals possess  resources to take care of themselves so a partner with resources is not stressed for any type of relationship sought.  The majority of the sample did not mention desiring resources at all.  Demographic information indicates that online daters differ with a higher income and are more 64  likely to be employed than internet users that do not date on line and the Canadian population (Brym & Lention, 2001).  In terms of resources, men and women who use online dating might  have comparable resources and have set aside this particular attribute as a preference. The existing research  An alternative reason could be an issue of respondents studied.  makes use of undergraduate student samples (Kenrick et al., 1990; Kenrick et al., 1993; Regan, 1998).  It has been pointed out that students may express a range of responses when it comes to  their attitude and behaviour (Oyserman, Coon, & Kemmelmeier, 2002).  For example, in  college campuses egalitarian values are the norm among upper level students who previously expressed more male-dominant views when they were in their first year of college (Lottes & Kuriloff, 1994).  Another observation is that students lack specific psychological characteristics  (Dasgupta & Hunsinger, 2008).  College students are at a particular life stage, lack life  experience, and possess a unique outlook on life, all of which are very likely to differ from the sample used in the current study, which was selected to represent the typical person using online dating. Another reason may have to do with the source of data used.  The finding that men  shifted from being less to more demanding of a potential short- to long-term partner comes from research (Buss, 1994, Kenrick et al., 1990; Kenrick et al., 1993; Regan, 1998) that had participants rank and rate various attributes.  The circumstances under which this information  was supplied allowed participants to enjoy anonymity and suffer no consequences for their responses.  The opposite is true when one writes an online advertisement that will be read and  its content meticulously analyzed by potential partners. Implications and Future Research Directions This study showed diversity in human mate preferences. results was limited.  The applicability of SST to the  The theory asserts that men and women will have different preferences in a  partner because each gender overcomes specialized obstacles in mating.  More specifically, 65  when seeking a partner for the short-term men’s and women’s preferences diverge while the preferences become similar when seeking a partner for the long-term. Gender differences, key to SST, were not found although results supported other components of the theory, such as commitment and resources being of value when seeking a long-term relationship.  Greater  understanding was gained about the attributes linked to the type of relationship sought, showing that SST is a valuable perspective on human mate preferences but has its limitations in explaining the results in this study. Despite possible social and economic change, the link between resources and commitment with seeking a long-term relationship confirms that people view these attributes as necessary for a long-term relationship.  These preferences for a long-term relationship show  continuity with past research, which has emphasized resources and commitment as valued attributes.  Furthermore, it was found that social skills and interests were emphasized for the  long-term relationship.  These attributes have not been valued to this degree in past research.  The current study confirms that these attributes are critical components that should be included in the study of mate preferences.  It is possible that these attributes represent additional mate  preferences that are surpassing attributes, like physical attractiveness, in importance to online daters.  Additional research should be undertaken to confirm the preference for social skills and  interests in a partner when seeking a long-term relationship and whether gender differences exist for these attributes. The current study showed that gender did not moderate the relationship between attributes desired and offered and type of relationship, not fitting SST.  A few questions that  come to mind are: Could the preferences expressed be better understood by a closer assessment of social, cultural, and economical factors, rather than simply explained by gender differences which are due to evolved psychological mechanisms resulting from our evolutionary past? gender differences weakening or completely disappearing?  Are  How do men and women view their 66  responsibilities in creating offspring and the care of offspring, in terms of biological and social expectations?  The existence of gender difference in mate preferences appears less definitive  than previously discussed in the literature.  A clearer understanding of the effect that gender has  on the association between type of relationship and attributes is needed.  The continued  examination of gender differences, societal and cultural factors, and each gender’s viewpoint on the role of mating and offspring care would be useful for comprehending the variety of mate preferences expressed in the research to date.  Comparing mate preferences among groups who  are in the process of seeking a partner and those who already have a partner may be another way of studying the type of relationship and gender differences.  Additional research using updated  data sources, such as specialized dating web sites, speed dating, and matchmaking services, and various methods, including experimental and participant observation, for exploring mate preferences would be new avenues in conducting future research.  A few studies of this kind  have appeared recently, which is encouraging (see Eastwick & Finkel, 2008; Glasser, Robnett, & Feliciano, 2009; Kurzban & Weeden, 2007). The mating preferences expressed by online ad placers are diverse.  This source of data  is likely to be used more frequently in future research given that researchers can study a myriad of variables and their prospective link to mate preferences.  An advantage of online dating is  that there are an abundance of web sites that are specialized in many ways.  For example, web  sites offer to help those seeking marriage partners, connect people with the same religious affiliation, and bring together people interested in interracial dating.  Online dating can be as  flexible as the internet is world-wide reaching. Online dating allows users to be dynamic and creative in communicating their mate preferences and describing themselves.  Users can easily make changes to their advertisement,  post pictures, and tell stories, to convey their preferences and what they have to offer.  This  makes for a source of data that is complex, but rich in information for studying the preferences of 67  online daters. Limitations This study is not without limitations, such as the generalizibility of the results.  Online  dating is being viewed more positively but the stigma that was once attached warrants consideration.  Aimed at paper personal ads, it has been argued that due to the stigma, the  results may not be representative and the generalizability of the findings questionable (Dupre, 1992).  This criticism can also be applied to online personal advertisements.  sample size was limited to 120 ads and an age range for ad placers was also set.  Additionally, the Only ads with  ad placers between the ages of 18 to 39 were accepted into the sample to achieve a sample representative of individuals who used online dating sites; those who had never been married and those who were recently divorced for the first time.  The limitations of sample size and age  range may have contributed to the lack of gender differences and not finding gender as a moderator.  The nuances of age, connected to life stages, and a more complete picture of the  preferences of ad placers may have been captured by collecting ads authored by ad placers of all ages.  However, the information that was collected provided insight on a strategically chosen  group of online daters that represented a typical online dater. Another shortcoming is the limited amount of demographic information available in intimate encounter and dating ads.  The relationship ads included additional information, such  as income earned, education level, and wanting or not wanting children while this information was not present for the other two types of ads.  Unfortunately, the web site was structured in  this manner, making it impossible to collect this information.  Consequently, these demographic  variables could not be tested for a potential link with attributes desired and offered, reducing the scope of the study for exploring the role of type of relationship sought. A final limitation is the ‘realness’ of the ads or that ads may not be genuine.  The same  person may open multiple accounts, authoring multiple ads in an attempt to cast a wider net or 68  ads may be used to get in touch with lonely, vulnerable individuals for purposes other than to find a potential mate.  When engaging in online dating, misrepresentation can easily occur in  online interaction (Brym & Lenton, 2001).  Misrepresentation may include deceiving people for  the purpose of monetary gain, which would be a concern for the study. number of ‘fake’ ads should have little effect on the results.  However, a small  In the case where multiple ads may  be placed by the same person, if their intention is still to seek out a partner the ad would still serve to help answer the questions undertaken by the current study.  To combat the issue of  deception, vigilance was used during the process of collecting and analyzing ads to identify and delete suspicious and duplicate ads. Some of these limitations can be overcome by considering a different method of study and changing sampling criteria.  Other limitations, such as the data source and deceptive ads  can be acknowledged for its benefits and drawbacks.  A combination of awareness and  understanding of the effects of the limitations on the results would also be important for improving future studies. Concluding Remarks This study set out to learn about the preferences of online dating users, particularly in three contexts, when seeking an intimate encounter, a date, and a long-term relationship. Sexual Strategies Theory offered understanding about how attributes were valued in particular types of relationships.  Alternative considerations, such as the principle of similarity, social,  economical, and cultural factors offered further insight on the range of preferences expressed by online ad placers.  Future research directions involving the use of online dating advertisements  and other new sources of data and the implementation of assorted methods are suggested. It can be concluded that mate preferences vary across different types of relationships but not by gender.  It would seem logical that preferences change when type of relationship sought  differs however research has not fully uncovered what preferences set different relationships 69  apart.  The current study has made use of online dating, an increasingly common way of  seeking an assortment of relationships, to study mate preferences.  The attributes, social  attitudes and interests, set the long-term relationship apart from shorter relationship durations. This information about the distinct attributes preferred in differing relationships provides new insight on what current mate preferences exist.  70  References Arvidsson, A.  (2006).  ‘Quality singles’: Internet dating and the work of fantasy.  New  Media Society, 8(4), 671-690. Badahdah, A. M., & Tiemann, K. A. America.  (2005).  Mate selection criteria among Muslims living in  Evolution and Human Behavior 26, 432-440.  Baron, R. M., & Kenny, D. A.  (1986).  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London: Routledge. Trivers, R.  (1972). Parental investment and sexual selection.  selection and the descent ofman (pp. 136-179). Waynforth, D., & Dunbar, R.I.M.  (1995).  In B. Campbell (Ed.), Sexual  Chicago: Aldine-Atherton.  Conditional mate choice strategies in humans:  Evidence from ‘lonely hearts’ advertisements.  Behaviour 132, 755-779.  78  CD  N.)  nj  II  CD - CJ)  U  CD  flCri 0  :  II N.)  c-.’  II  0  0 C’,  00  II  CD  0  < II  —•  -  CD CI  <  CD  0  Q  CI  Z o  C.)  00  -  Z  N)  II  r  I-’.  —  CD ()  II)U  0 0 -()  C)<(ThCuJ  II  C  cn  —.1  —  ii IIII©:  c-fl  - .  9 6 N.)  CD  C.flCi  —. —  -  0°N)  11W  Z  CD  II  o  ii  t;;•  -  II  C”  =  CD  -  II  II  CD  .  r CD  z  ii  —  0°  0 sD’  0CD  II  CD  II  “ CI r)  0ZDZ  ii  -  X(ThC)  C  C-’.’  II  II  II  CD -CD  0  IIr’j  CD  CDZ - II II  CD  CTh —  i-’.  (_)  II  C,’  —.  CD  CD  0  — —  cL  CD  -‘  C,,  CD  .  —.  —  -  D  —  CD  o  N.)  II  C,,  CD  II  CD  -÷  —•  -  —  ..  -  D)  —  ,  CD  CD  CD  C)  —  0  -  CD  CD  C,,  CD  CD  0  Case number: Offered by Ad  Type of Relationship:  Intimate  Physical Attractiveness Used to describe both genders: Athletic Attractive Cute Fit Good-looking Healthy Nice body Average Few extra pounds King or queen sized Active Hot Nice facial features Sexy Skinny Young looking Other:  =  0  Dating  =  1  Relationship  =  2  Desired in Ad  Used to describe women: Buxom Petite Pretty Shapely Slender Slim Other:  Used to describe men: Handsome Hunk Muscular Rugged Tall Well-built Strong Other:  *  Please make sure to check the write spot.  Use the ruler provided. 80  Case number: Offered by Ad  Type of Relationship:  Intimate  0  Dating  Resources This refers to terms indicating home-ownership, professional status, being well-off, a business owner, being college-educated, or any terms indicating an above-average lifestyle. These terms also indicate that the individual has or expects to have resources to support a family. Property_ownership Boat Car Condominium Home Vacation_home Other:  =  1  Relationship  =  2  Desired in Ad  Disposable wealth Assets Debt free Income / Financial stability! Secure I Financially successful Wealthy Well-off Other: Professional qualifications Accounting: CGA, CMA, CA CEO Engineer Executive Lawyer Manager MBA Medical doctor Professor Surgeon Well-educated Other: Nonspecific_assets:  *  Have career Have job Professional Self-employed Other: Please make sure to check the write spot.  Use the ruler provided. 81  Case number: Offered by Ad  Type of Relationship:  =  0  Dating  =  Commitment This refers to characteristics during interactions that show commitment to the relationship or to family. These characteristics are highly desirable in a potential mate by both men and women. Terms Caring / Considerate / Compassionate / Selfless I Thoughtful_/Understanding Dependable / Reliable Emotionally stable / Balanced I Secure / Confident Family-minded I Likes, wants children Gentle!_Kind Giving!_Generous Good cook / Housekeeper! Handy Honest / Genuine / Integrity! Loyal / Trustworthy Mature! Serious! Down-to-earth! Independent! Self-sufficient Pleasing disposition ! Agreeable ! Polite ! Good mannered Other:  *Jf any word is present, give one check. in the ad.  Intimate  1  Relationship  =  2  Desired in Ad  Also, take the opportunity to circle the word(s) found  More than one check can be given for each group of words.  together because they share similar definitions.  The words are grouped  Refer to the ‘Instructions Definitions’ sheet for  meanings to the words.  82  Case number: Offered by Ad  Type of Relationship:  Intimate  =  0  Dating  Social Skills This refers to characteristics that allow individuals to maintain a relationship even during difficult times and that partly involves keeping a mate entertained. Also, these characteristics indicate sociableness. Terms Analytical! Curious / Inquisitive Articulate / Strong communicator Bubbly!_Lively!_Fun Creative_/ Artistic_/_Musical Easygoing! Laid-back! Relaxed / Non-judgmental / Open-minded /Happy-go-lucky Good_listener_/ Attentive Happy!_Optimistic!_Positive Sense of humour! Funny / Good humoured Intelligent_/_Smart_/ Witty Kid-like_/_Silly!_Nonsensical Outgoing!_Friendly Sophisticated! Urbane ! Worldly Strong Other:  *Jf any word is present, give one check.  1  Relationship  2  Desired in Ad  Also, take the opportunity to circle the word(s) found  in the ad. More than one check can be given for each group of words. together because they share similar definitions.  The words are grouped  Refer to the ‘Instructions Definitions’ sheet for  meanings to the words.  83  Case number: Offered by Ad  Type of Relationship:  Intimate  =  0  Dating  =  Social Attitudes This refers to terms relating to social and political views, religious beliefs, and lifestyle. The terms suggest the strength of these attitudes or lack thereof in one’s lives. It also refers to the way one’s life is like, what one does and doesn’t do. Social_and_political_views Environmentalism Immigration Materialism_/_non-materialism Politics Religion Other:  1  Relationship  =  2  Desired in Ad  Religious beliefs I Practices Going to church routinely Going to temple Praying Other:  Lifestyle Disease free Drinking Drug use Explorer or likes to discover Freethinker Free spirit Frugal or thrifty Good Hygiene Likes to party Safe sex Smoking Social butterfly Variety in life or jole de vivre Workaholic or Career focused, oriented or Hardworking or Work ethic Other:  *  Please make sure to check the write spot.  Use the ruler provided. 84  Case number: Offered by Ad  Type of Relationship:  Intimate  =  0  Dating  =  Interests This refers to terms relating to leisure time activities, which include outdoor activities/fitness, sports, entertainment,_and_hobbies. Outdoor Activities/Fitness: Unspecified_activities Unspecified_exercise Aerobics Biking_or_Cycling Boating_or_Sailing Bungee jumping Camping Fishing Hiking Horseback_Riding Hunting Ice_skating In-line_skating Jogging or_Running Kayaking_or_Canoeing Martial Arts Mountain climbing Scuba diving Skydiving Snorkelling Snow skiing or Snowboarding Snowmobiling Swimming Walking Water_skiing Weight_lifting Wind_surfing or Surfing White_water_rafting Other: Sexual Activities_I_Preferences: Anything sexual related: High_sex_drive Threesome Ideal Date Activities I Preferences / Romantic Gestures: Not_found_in_Interests: Holding hands Sitting_by_fireplace Receiving_flowers  1  Relationship  2  Desired in Ad  85  Case number:  Type of Relationship:  Offered by Ad Watch Participates  *  Intimate  Interests  Sports: Unspecified Auto racing Badminton Baseball Basketball Billiards Bowling Boxing Canoeing Cricket Diving Extreme sports Figure skating Football Golf Hockey Olympic sports Rugby Soccer Softball Squash or racquetball Tennis Volleyball Other:  Please make sure to cneck the write spot.  =  0  Dating  =  1  Relationship  =  Desired in Ad Watches Participates  Use the ruler provided  86  2  Case number: Offered by Ad  Type of Relationship:  Intimate  Entertainment: Bars or pubs Casino or gambling Comedy clubs Concerts or live music Cultural events Dance clubs Dancing Darts Dinner parties at home Fashion events Fine dining Movies Music Classical Music Country Music Pop Music Jazz Music Rap Music Rock Poetry Reading Surfing the web Traditional games TV: Entertainment TV: Educational or news Video games Wine tasting Other:  0  Dating  =  1  Relationship  2  Desired in Ad  —  —  —  —  —  —  *  Please make sure to check the write spot.  Use the ruler provided.  87  Case number:  Type of Relationship:  Intimate  Hobbies:  Offered by Ad  =  0  Dating  =  1  Relationship  =  2  Desired in Ad  Antiques or furniture restoration Astrology Cars Cats Collecting Computer or software  Crafts Creative writing Dogs Family or kids  Friends Fish or aquarium Gardening  Gourmet cooking Home improvement  Hunting Investing  Motorcycles •  News or politics or Current events  Painting Philosophy or spirituality Photography  Playing a musical instrument Shopping Social cause or activism Traveling Vegetarianism  Volunteer Yoga Other:  *  Please make sure  to check the write spot.  Use the ruler provided.  Note: Adapted from Waynforth & Dunbar, 1995; Pawlowski, & Dunbar, 1999a for categories 1-3, Badahdah & Tiemann, 2005: Pawlowski & Dunbar, 1999b for categories 4-6.  88  a  =  $75 000 and above.  Coding used for the logistic and hierarchical regression analyses.  than $75 000, 1  =  religious, 1  =  non-religious and income, 0  =  89  =  less  Dichotomously coded with 0 = not desired, 1 desired Deleted from analysis due to lack of data Dichotomously coded with 0 = not desired, 1 desired Dichotomously coded with 0 = not desired, 1 = desired Dichotomously coded with 0 = not desired, 1 = desired Continuous scale Continuous scale, composite of all attributes desired Dichotomously coded with 0 = not offered, 1 = offered Dichotomously coded with 0 = not offered, 1 offered Dichotomously coded with 0 = not offered, 1 = offered Dichotomously coded at the median with 0 = offered attribute once or none, 1 offered attribute more than once Continuous scale Continuous scale Continuous scale, composite of all attributes offered  Recoded with 0 = some post-secondary and below, 1 = university degree and above Recoded with 0 = less than $50 000, 1 = $50 000 to 75000,2 = $75 000 and above Recoded with 0 = do not want, 1 = want children, undecided Two dummy variables, reference is relationship  Ranged from 18-39 Dummy coded with 0 = female, reference is male Recoded with 0 = Caucasian, 1 = Other Recoded with 0 = non-religious, 1 = Christian, 2 = non-religious  Coding for Analysis  Note: For analysis involving data for the relationship ads, religion was coded as 0  Social Attitudes Attributes Offered Interests Attributes Offered Total Attributes Offered  Variable Ad Placer Age Gender Ethnicity Religion Relationship Category Only Education Income Want Children Type of Relationship Sought a Attributes Desired and Offered Physical Attractiveness Attributes Desired Financial Resources Attributes Desired Commitment Attributes Desired Social Skills Attributes Desired Social Attitudes Attributes Desired Interests Attributes Desired Total Attributes Desired Physical Attractiveness Attributes Offered Financial Resources Attributes Offered Commitment Attributes Offered Social Skills Attributes Offered  Coding Instructions for Creating the Data File Used in the Analyses  Appendix B  

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