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

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. Attributes desired and offered did not differ by gender but did differ by type of relationship. 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. A shift away from gender differences in mate preferences is suggested. The limitations of the theory for explaining the results are discussed and alternative explanations are provided.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

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