A Longitudinal Analysis of Romantic Relationship Formation: The Effect of Prosocial Behavior

Olga Stavrova*, Daniel Ehlebracht

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In line with the sexual selection for altruism hypothesis, research has shown that men and women typically prefer hypothetical partners who are described as prosocial to otherwise similar individuals. In this study, we consider this hypothesis in the real world by examining whether prosocial behavior conveys actual benefits in terms of real-life mating success. Using a nationally representative annual panel data set, we examine the impact of single individuals' prosocial behavior on their probabilities of finding a steady partner in the course of the following year. Our results show that single individuals who frequently engaged in prosocial behavior had substantially higher chances of being in a stable relationship the following year. The effect persisted even after accounting for individual differences in the Big Five personality traits and the degree of social involvement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)521-527
Number of pages7
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Volume6
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • romantic relationship formation
  • prosocial behavior
  • mate preferences
  • Big Five personality traits
  • sexual selection
  • altruism
  • MATE PREFERENCES
  • SEX-DIFFERENCES
  • COURTSHIP DISPLAY
  • LONG-TERM
  • PERSONALITY
  • SELECTION
  • ALTRUISM
  • TRAITS
  • AGREEABLENESS
  • RECIPROCITY

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