This cross-sectional study examined how self-assessed physical attractiveness and earning capability were associated with individuals’ sense of power through self-perceived mating success and investment size in romantic relationships among 196 young adults (88 men, 98 women) from Nanjing, China. Using path analysis, we tested the following hypotheses: self-assessed physical attractiveness would be more strongly associated with self-perceived mating success among women than men, whereas self-assessed earning capability would be more strongly linked to self-perceived mating success among men than women (H1); relative physical attractiveness, as compared to their partners’, would be more strongly associated with men’s rather than women’s self-perceived investment size, whereas relative earning capability would be more strongly related to women’s rather than men’s investment size (H2); for both men and women, self-perceived mating success would be positively associated with sense of power, whereas self-perceived investment size would be negatively associated with sense of power (H3). Results indicated that self-perceived physical attractiveness and earning capability were associated with self-perceived mating success similarly for both men and women, failing to support H1. Whereas relative physical attractiveness was negatively associated with investment in the relationship similarly for two genders, the negative association between relative earning capacity and investment size was only significant for women. H2 was partially supported. Finally, self-perceived mating success and investment size were significantly associated with sense of power in the expected directions for both genders, lending support to our H3. Results are discussed in light of gender differences in mate preferences and the investment theory.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 16, 2014
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