A Cross-Cultural Study of Never-Married Chinese and American Adults' Mate Selection Perceptions and Criteria


TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Virginia Tech


Mate selection has garnered much attention in the existing literature. However, most mate selection research has reviewed mate selection preferences and criteria individually. In this study, the researcher attempted to illustrate mate selection as an interactive process in which individuals are affected by external influences, and their mate selection criteria are influenced by their self-appraisals and their perceptions of others' mate selection criteria. Two studies were conducted. Study 1 was based on social exchange theory, sexual strategies theory, and social context frameworks, and used multiple-group structural equation modeling to describe the relationships among gender, receptivity to external influences on mate selection, self-perceived relative mate selection position, and relative mate selection demand, between Chinese and American never-married heterosexual adults. The results indicated that the model fit the data well.

Self-perceived relative mate selection position and relative mate selection demand were negatively correlated. Women had a higher relative mate selection demand than men did. Self-perceived relative mate selection position fully mediated the effect of receptivity to external influences on relative mate selection, though the indirect effect was not significant. Path values did not differ between Chinese participants and American participants. Study 2 confirmed that the model fit the data well and replicated all significant correlations among latent variables found in Study 1. Additionally, Study 2 found that receptivity to external influences and self-perceived relative mate selection position were positively correlated, and that receptivity to external influences had a negative indirect effect on relative mate selection demand, fully mediated by relative mate selection position. Lastly, the researcher discussed findings, implications, strengths, limitations, and future directions of the present study.



mate selection process, mate selection criteria, cultural differences, Gender