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Desired Characteristics of a Potential Partner as a Function of Perceived Qualities of Opposite-Sex Parent
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by Heather L. Fry and Harvey R. Freeman* - Ohio Wesleyan University
Categories: Gender | Personality | Social
The influence of the perceived quality of the relationship between an individual and the opposite-sex parent on the characteristics desired in a potential mate was examined. One hundred and twenty male and female college students completed a questionnaire in which they rated 3 targets (typical opposite-sex parent, their own opposite-sex parent, and their ideal partner) on a 10-item measure of personal qualities. Participants' perceived quality of relationship with their opposite-sex parent was assessed using a 4-item measure. Both men and women who perceived the relationship with their opposite-sex parent to be of high quality rated their parent and ideal partner more similarly than did men and women who perceived their relationship to be of low quality. A tendency for participants with perceived high-quality relationships to idealize their opposite-sex parents (i.e., rate them more positively than the typical opposite-sex parent) approached significance. Women who perceived high-quality relationships with their fathers were the only group to view their opposite-sex parent more positively than the typical opposite-sex parent and the ideal partner.