The influence of gender roles on evolved partner preferences

Sheila Cunningham, Phil Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Evolutionary psychologists argue that there are reliable sex differences between men and women's partner preferences, such that men attach greater importance than women to physical attractiveness, whereas women are more concerned than men with commitment and status. The present study proposed that gender roles may moderate these sex differences. A total of 143 participants completed the Bem Sex-Role Inventory and rated the importance of several partner characteristics. Categorical and regression analyses showed that both sex and sex-typing had a significant impact on partner preferences. These findings are discussed in terms of a trade-off threshold model of partner preferences, such that masculine women may engage in some trade-off of commitment characteristics for physical attractiveness and feminine men may trade-off attractiveness for signs of willingness to commit.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-150
Number of pages22
JournalSexualities, Evolution & Gender
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • partner preferences
  • sex differences
  • gender roles
  • trade-off threshold model


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