Preferences for Emotional Dependence and Togetherness in Romantic Relationships: The Impact of Cohort, Race, Gender, and Gender Ideology

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Virginia Tech

This study investigates variation in preferences for mutual emotional dependence and togetherness in heterosexual romantic relationships among adults in the United States specifically considering the impact of race, gender, gender ideology, and cohort on preferences. A social structure and personality framework and concepts from exchange theory are used to interpret and predict relationship preference patterns found using binary hierarchical logistic regression analysis of data from the 1996 General Social Survey's (GSS) gender and emotions modules. Gender, gender ideology, cohort, and specific sociodemographic variables, such as education and marital status were found to impact preferences for mutual emotional dependence, however, no racially distinct patterns were found. The variables in the models explain less of the differences in preferences for togetherness than emotional dependence. However, education had a curvilinear relationship with preferences for togetherness, as people with the lowest and the highest educations were least likely to prefer togetherness.

Emotional Dependence, Relationship Preferences, Gender, Romantic Relationships, Togetherness