Dating and mate selection among young adults from immigrant families




Insofar as collectivists have a strong sense of duty to in-groups and cultivate interdependent ties [ 2 ], it is logical to presume that they would highly value commitment to romantic partners. Indeed, Luo [ 29 ] found that second-generation Chinese-American youth negatively perceived American causal dating behaviors, preferring committed relationships instead. Studies 1 and 2 both found that participants from collectivistic backgrounds reported greater parental influence on their mate selection process and, in turn, reported lower levels of commitment. These results are consistent with the findings of MacDonald and colleagues [ 31 ], who found that collectivists facing parental disapproval were less likely to invest in their relationship.

Alternatively, in Study 2, we found that participants from India, a highly collectivist country, were higher in family allocentrism than Americans; in turn, Indians reported greater relationship commitment, suggesting that family allocentrism and parental influence contributed to commitment in opposite ways.

Consequently, if individuals experience a higher degree of family allocentrism with their immediate family members, it may be that they desire a similar degree of allocentrism with their romantic partner, contributing to an elevated degree of commitment in their relationship. These findings may help to explain discrepancies in the current literature on romantic relationships within collectivistic cultures [ 29 , 70 , 71 ]: Another facet of relationship quality we examined was passion.

Consistent with research that has found a negative link between parental influence and romantic beliefs [ 3 ], in Study 1 we found that parental influence was negatively associated with passion, a correlate of romantic beliefs. On the other hand, Study 2 revealed that young adults from a more collectivistic culture reported greater family allocentrism and, in turn, reported stronger passion in their relationship.

If these individuals already sustain strong family relationships, it may be that the bond with their family members has encouraged a desire for a similar connection in romantic relationships, cultivating a stronger sense of passion within their relationship. Finally, we examined the predictors of preferences for a marital partner. Past research in cross-cultural psychology has explored the desirability of various mate attributes principally within a collectivistic-individualistic context [ 24 ].

While Study 1 did not demonstrate any significant mediation, we believe this stemmed from two factors. First, principal components analysis of the measure of mate preferences utilized in Study 1 yielded only one dominant factor, allowing for a less refined measure of preferred mate characteristics.

Relationship Involvement Among Young Adults: Are Asian American Men an Exceptional Case?

Additionally, while the group classified as highly collectivistic in Study 1 were from heritage cultures identified by Hofstede [ 59 ] as high in collectivism, these participants were also living in the United Kingdom—an individualistic society—and may not have experienced the full weight of having to comply with collectivist values and expectations, as did their counterparts in Study 2. Family allocentrism generates sentiments of warmth and loyalty between family members; as a result, socialization within such a close family unit may mean that individuals seek equal virtues in a marital partner.

Evolutionary theory suggests that healthy offspring is the key to genetic fitness [ 73 ]. Across cultures, then, both parents and young adults may overlap in their desire to select a mate with traits that connote vitality in an attempt to maximize the health of their children [ 14 , 55 ]. Although we were unable to demonstrate in both studies that parental influence and family allocentrism simultaneously exerted indirect effects on the associations of collectivism with all of our dependent variables, we believe this was chiefly due to discrepancies in data collection.

As mentioned above, many of the participants in Study 1 were second-generation immigrants living in the UK, whose parents originated from more collectivistic countries. Living among their Western peers, who most likely enjoyed free-choice in their romantic relationships, the participants classified as highly collectivistic in Study 1 may have perceived their own level of parental influence on their romantic relationship outcomes more heavily.

In an attempt to gain more freedom and autonomy, like their Western friends, they may have pushed against and sought more distance from their family members, reducing family allocentrism relative to their collectivist counterparts in Study 2. The sharper cultural difference in family allocentrism in Study 2 may explain why the indirect effect of collectivism on relationship commitment and passion through family allocentrism was significant here but not in Study 1. Although our findings have offered important insights into cultural influences on relationship quality and partner selection, they also have certain limitations.

Study 1 focused on the influence of collectivistic cultural values among first- and second-generation immigrants in the United Kingdom, but did not take into account the role of acculturation beyond assessing generational status. For example, migrants with assimilationist tendencies who adopt Western-style attitudes towards parental influence on mate choice may report greater commitment and passion in premarital relationships; however, such enhancements may be offset to the extent that they also experience a reduction in family allocentrism. It is important to note that the results of Study 2 may not be generalized beyond our particular sample of Indian participants who may have come from predominately middle or upper class backgrounds and potentially experienced increased exposure to individualistic concepts and norms.

However, Indians may be simultaneously high in collectivism and individualism, endorsing each value system depending on context [ 75 ]. Nevertheless, given the ample differences in religion, language, cast, and socioeconomic status one can find in India, our sample may not be indicative of the mainstream population of Indian youth. Additional insight might also be gained by sampling participants from a wider selection of cultures that vary in collectivism. Nevertheless, it would be worthwhile for future research to collect data directly from parents to more accurately gauge parent-child discrepancies in mate choice.

Finally, the positive association between family allocentrism and passion in our study was somewhat tenuous. Further replication should be done, especially after controlling for intimacy, to gain additional insight into this somewhat surprising finding. Our research sought to disentangle the influence of collectivism on relationship quality and mate preferences by examining the mediating roles of parental influence and family allocentrism.

Two studies showed that collectivists experienced upward pressure on their relationship commitment and passion due to their family allocentrism, but they experienced concurrent downward pressure on these relationship outcomes due to high parental influence, potentially creating ambivalence. Further research examining the influence of conflicting cultural ideologies on mate preferences and relationship quality may assist practitioners in helping people to resolve personal ambivalence and intergenerational tension.

The first author received small funding from Brunel University departmental research allowance to pay participants for taking part in the study. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Published online Feb Marshall , and Nelli Ferenczi. Bert N Uchino, Academic Editor. Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer.

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist. Received Apr 8; Accepted Dec This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are properly credited. Associated Data Data Availability Statement Due to ethical restrictions and confidentiality concerns, data are available from the first author on request.

Abstract In collectivist cultures, families tend to be characterized by respect for parental authority and strong, interdependent ties. Romantic Relationships in Individualistic and Collectivistic Cultures While mate selection is universal, the process by which partners are selected and relationships are maintained is often determined by cultural and social factors.

Predictors of Commitment In Western, individualistic cultures, feelings of affection, tenderness and commitment are seen as necessary predecessors to marriage [ 26 ]. Predictors of Parent-Child Discrepancies in Mate Choice Romantic relationships exist cross-culturally, with parents and children often viewing marriage as the touchstone of a successful romantic union [ 1 , 23 ]. The Present Research Many studies have explored cultural influences on relationship quality and mate preferences [ 24 , 55 , 56 , 57 ], but have primarily focused on the value assigned to specific mate attributes within an individualistic-collectivistic cultural milieu.

Participants The sample consisted of participants who currently resided in the United Kingdom women and 33 men; M age: Table 1 Demographic Statistics for Study 1. Male 25 83 Female 75 17 AGE: Open in a separate window. Procedure and Materials An online survey was generated through a survey-development website www. Collectivism Participants were asked to indicate their heritage culture. Preferred Mate Attributes Eighteen items were taken from the Preferred Mate Attributes Scale [ 55 ] to measure the desirability of a range of mate characteristics e.

Commitment Seven items from the Investment Model Scale [ 61 ] were used to measure commitment for participants currently involved in a romantic relationship. Passion Fifteen items taken from the Triangular Love Scale [ 62 ] were used to assess passion e. Demographic questions Participants stated their sex, age, where they were born, and where they currently resided.

Parent-Child Discrepancy in Mate Preferences. Indirect effect of collectivism on relationship commitment through parental influence and family allocentrism. Indirect effect of collectivism on parent-child discrepancy in mate selection for qualities signifying warmth-loyalty through parental influence and family allocentrism.

Indirect effect of collectivism on relationship passion through parental influence and family allocentrism. Study 2 The aim of Study 2 was to replicate and extend the results of Study 1 in three key ways. Method Participants Three hundred and forty-six participants women and men; M age: Table 3 Demographic Statistics for Study 2. Male 62 50 Female 38 50 AGE: Materials Study 2 employed the same measures as Study 1, apart from the Ideal Partner Scale [ 68 ] and the continuous rather than categorical measure of dating experience.

Ideal Partner Scale Eighteen items from the short version of the Ideal Partner Scale [ 68 ] measure preferences for various mate attributes. Indirect effect of collectivism on parent-child discrepancy in mate selection for qualities signifying status-resources through parental influence and family allocentrism. General Discussion The purpose of this research was to test whether collectivism predicted relationship commitment, passion, and parent-child discrepancies in mate preferences because of cultural emphases on parental authority and family allocentrism.

Limitations and Future Directions Although our findings have offered important insights into cultural influences on relationship quality and partner selection, they also have certain limitations. Concluding Remarks Our research sought to disentangle the influence of collectivism on relationship quality and mate preferences by examining the mediating roles of parental influence and family allocentrism.

Funding Statement The first author received small funding from Brunel University departmental research allowance to pay participants for taking part in the study. Data Availability Due to ethical restrictions and confidentiality concerns, data are available from the first author on request. A comparision of Asian Indians in arranged marriages and Americans in marriages of choice. The Family Journal Implications for cognition, emotion, and motivation. Netting N Two-lives, one partner: Indo-Canadian youth between love and arranged marriages.

Journal of Comparative Family Studies A measure of family connectedness.

Relationship Involvement Among Young Adults: Are Asian American Men an Exceptional Case?

Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology Hatfield E, Rapson R Passionate love, sexual desire, and mate selection: Frontiers of Social Psychology: Sandhya S The social context of marital happiness in urban Indian couples: Interplay of intimacy and conflict. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy Netting N Marital ideoscapes in 21 st-century India: Creative combination of love and responsibility.

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Journal of Adolescent Research Dating among second-generation Patels in Florida. Sherif—Trask B Love, courtship, and marriage from a cross-cultural perspective: The upper middle class Egyptian example In Hamon R. A preliminary comparison of arranged marriages and marriages of choice. Do second generation South Asian Canadians want a traditional partner? The case of traditional mate preferences.


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Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology A cross-cultural study of American, Asian-Indian, and Turkish young adults. Hart K Love by arrangement: Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute Sex Roles , Luo B Striving for comfort: Journal of Social and Personal Relationships Dugsin R Conflict and healing in family experience of second-generation emigrants from India living in North America.

The role of family approval across cultures. Family, faith, and happiness in arranged marriages in India. Convergent Validity and Construct Exploration. Individual Differences Research 5: Marshall TC Love at the cultural crossroads: Intimacy and commitment in Chinese Canadian relationships.

Puri J Reading romance novels in postcolonial India. Gender and Society Roy M Bengali women. University of Chicago Press. Gala J, Kapadia S Romantic love, commitment and marriage in emerging adulthood in an Indian context: Psychology and Developing Societies Punja S Divine ecstasy: The story of Khajuraho. Ruan FF Sex in China: Studies in sexology in Chinese culture. Bullough VL History and the understanding of human sexuality.

Annual Review of Sex Research 1: A mammalian brain system for mate choice. Philosophical Transactions of Royal Society B Derne S Culture in action: Family life, emotion, and male dominance in Banaras, India. State University of New York Press. Roland A In search of self in India and Japan. Family, culture, and gender in Filipina American lives. Journal of Women in Culture and Society Derne S Hindu men talk about controlling women: Cultural ideas as a tool of the powerful.

Apostolou M Parent-offspring conflict over mating: The case of family background. Sheela J, Audinarayana N Mate selection and female age at marriage: A micro level investigation in Tamil Nadu, India. Parent-offspring conflict over mate choice. Social Indicators Research Journal of Moral Education A study of 37 cultures. Evidence from eight cultural groups. PLoS One 7 4: Marshall TC Cultural differences in intimacy: The influence of gender-role ideology and individualism-collectivism. Behaviroal Research Methods International differences in work-related values.

Journal of Business Research Measuring commitment level, satisfaction level, quality of alternatives, and investment size. Sternberg RJ Construct validation of a triangular love scale. European Journal of Social Psychology Preacher KJ, Hayes AF Asymptotic and resampling strategies for assessing and comparing indirect effects in multiple mediator models. Behavior Research Methods Annual Review of Psychology Khandelwal M Arranging love: Interrogating the vantage point in cross-border feminism.

The International Journal of Intercultural Relations The Journal of Social Psychology Evoked culture and mate preferences. Berry JW Acculturation: Living successfully in two cultures. International Journal of Intercultural Relations Asian Journal of Social Psychology 4: A reconceptualization of current points of view. Okagaki L, Bevis C Transmission of religious values: Journal of Genetic Psychology Journal of Marriage and the Family Smith TE The case for parental transmission of educational goals: The importance of accurate offspring perceptions.

Support Center Support Center. These results do not support the cultural framework model. To further explore whether perhaps cultural variations may be driving this gap in relationship involvement, we divide Asian and Hispanic men into ethnic sub-groups Models 5 and 6. On the other hand, Filipino men are or no more or less likely to form a romantic partnership than white men.

The addition of the full set of independent variables attenuates the association but does not eliminate it. We also considered another aspect often attributed to culture—whether Asian men may be excluding themselves from forming romantic relationships due to enrollment in higher education. In sum, our results lend little support for a cultural explanation of race and ethnic gaps in partnering. We estimated parallel models for women Table 4.

Results from the zero-order model for women Model 1 reveal that black women have significantly lower odds of current involvement than white women. Two of the factors that differentiate the involvement of men also differentiate the involvement of women—interviewer-rated attractiveness and prior romantic relationship. Height fails to significantly affect the involvement of women. The full model Model 2 reveals that net of resources and characteristics, black women have lower odds of romantic partnering than white women. Hispanic and Asian women show no difference in their odds of current involvement at Wave IV compared to white women.

In contrast to the findings concerning men, no differences in involvement for Asian or Hispanic women were found in models examining nativity status Models 3 and 4 , ethnic sub-group Models 5 and 6 or current educational enrollment not shown. This study reassesses racial and ethnic patterns of current romantic involvement, regardless of co-residential union status.

We draw from structural, cultural, and critical race frameworks to develop expectations about racial and ethnic gaps in romantic involvement, paying close attention to the distinctiveness of Asians Americans. Our descriptive statistics reveal that patterns of involvement differed markedly for men and women. White, black, and Hispanic women generally resembled their male counterparts in their levels of involvement, but Asian women were half as likely as Asian men to be unpartnered i.


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In zero-order models run separately for men and women, black women and Asian men consistently exhibited a significantly lower likelihood of current involvement than their white counterparts. In full models that included economic factors, physical attributes and prior adolescent romantic relationships, the patterns remained.

Wave I interviewer-rated attractiveness and romantic relationship involvement additionally reduced involvement for men and women, underscoring the importance of experience and opportunity. We found no evidence that socioeconomic resources or physical characteristics were driving the lower levels of involvement among Asian men. Instead, our findings are consistent with the notion that Asian American men are at the bottom of the racial hierarchy when it comes to the different-sex dating market. With our data, we are unable to completely determine the mechanism through which Asian men are excluded from the mate market at this stage of the life course.

While we cannot definitively say that Asian American men have not removed themselves from the mate market, we find little support for that argument. The significantly lower prevalence of involvement among Asian men, regardless of nativity status and ethnic group, challenges the notion that cultural norms and values may account for race and ethnic patterns in current involvement.

Further evidence against the cultural argument is found in the stark differences in the likelihood of being unpartnered between Asian men and women. In fact, the opposite was true. Finally, if culturally-specific values and norms were driving romantic involvement, these differences would be more apparent among the foreign-born population than among the second and later generations.

Some of this gap could be due to the large gender differences in interracial involvement among Asians. Prior studies reveal, among other things, that Asian women are more likely to form co-residential relationships with someone of a different race than their Asian male counterparts and that black men are more likely than black women to interracially co-reside Qian and Lichter Similarly, in analyses not shown, we find that given a relationship, Asian men in our sample were less likely than Asian women to be in a relationship with a different-race partner i.

However, research by Fong and Yung suggests that both Asian men and women express a similar desire to marry outside of their race. The differences we identified between white and Asian men were consistent with notions of a racial hierarchy in dating preferences, as well as observations by Asian American film scholars and media observers Adachi Media observers continue to note that Hollywood movies and advertisements promote Asian American men as geeky and awkward romantic partners.

Asian American males usually serve as exemplar in their awkwardness around women. The character Long Duk Dong from Sixteen Candles , a film by John Hughes, has been widely viewed as the quintessential Asian American geek and is well known to Asian Americans males who were adolescents in the s. Film scholars and Asian American commentators have also lamented the fact that Asian American men rarely play romantic leads in films.

Even when Asian American men are present as the lead male usually in martial arts or action films , they rarely have the opportunity to demonstrate any physical displays of affection. For example in Romeo Must Die , a film based on Romeo and Juliet starring Chinese actor Jet Li and Aaliyah an African American actress , the two leading characters never kiss despite the romantic link between them.

A kiss was tested with a focus group, but they were uncomfortable with it, so in the cinematic release of this film, the two characters again, based on Romeo and Juliet hug instead. The analyses presented in this study are limited in a few respects. First, we do not measure mate availability. While structural frameworks do stress the importance of individual characteristics i.

Indeed, prior research finds that higher sex ratios i. However, prior studies concerning mate availability find that sex ratio imbalances explain only a small part of the marriage gap between black and white women e. In the current study, we are unable to address the influence of sex ratios on racial and ethnic patterns of current involvement because the contextual data corresponds only to the period of interviews.

More specifically, the contextual data in the fourth wave include only the number of women and men for the ages 18 to 24, not the full age range that might compose a potential mate pool. A second limitation concerns our measurement of cultural norms. We do not have measures of parental attitudes toward the formation of romantic partnerships, which might provide us with a more direct measure of family influences on young adult behaviors. Still, it is unlikely that Asian American parents would be more restrictive with their sons than daughters Dasgupta ; Espirtiu ; Talbani and Hasanali However, we did explore the role of several variables measured at Wave I in mediating the gap between Asian and white men in our preliminary models not shown here.

We also included measures of verbal aptitude and grade point average. Finally, we measured attitudes among young adults related to union formation during the third wave e. None of the variables we considered reduced the magnitude of the gap substantially or reduced its level of significance. As Add Health does not ask respondents about their willingness to form relationships with partners from specific racial groups, we are not able to empirically test the racial hierarchy explanation and suggest that future population-based surveys incorporate these measures.

Nonetheless, our results do suggest that a racial hierarchy in romantic partner preferences may hinder Asian men from entering into romantic partnerships during young adulthood. However, these figures include Asian men who dated and married outside of the US — hence, they would not have suffered under the same racial hierarchy as they might have had they dated in the US.

We do not know whether this younger cohort of Asian American men will eventually marry at similarly high rates or whether the patterns of exclusion found in the dating market here will continue to the marriage market. Data from the US Census also includes individuals that married outside of the US, so even if Asian American men are marginalized in the US dating market, that would not affect the odds of marriage among Asians outside of the US.

It is also possible that Asian American men are disadvantaged in the dating market, but eventually marry due to their higher SES attainment. Our study is an important first step into understanding the marginalization of some groups in the dating market, but additional studies are needed that offer a more comprehensive view of romantic involvement ranging from where individuals search for and meet potential partners to how the romantic relationship progresses at this stage of the life course.

Prior studies have suggested that social context shapes the networks from which individuals chose or are chosen as mates Kalmijn and Flap ; Laumann, Gagnon, Michael and Michaels Where individuals meet romantic partners i. Examining factors such as these may help to explain some of the gaps we find in romantic involvement not only for Asian men but for black women. Richard Udry, Peter S. Special acknowledgment is due Ronald R.

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Rindfuss and Barbara Entwisle for assistance in the original design. Information on how to obtain the Add Health data files is available on the Add Health website http: No direct support was received from grant PHD for this analysis. Grace Kao, University of Pennsylvania ude.

National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Popul Res Policy Rev. Author manuscript; available in PMC Oct 1. Kelly Stamper Balistreri , Ph. Grace Kao University of Pennsylvania ude. Author information Copyright and License information Disclaimer. The publisher's final edited version of this article is available at Popul Res Policy Rev. See other articles in PMC that cite the published article.

Abstract Asian American men and women have been largely neglected in previous studies of romantic relationship formation and status. Structural Explanations Individual Characteristics Structural frameworks highlight the role of individual characteristics in explaining the formation of romantic relationships. Cultural Explanations A cultural framework suggests that some racial and ethnic groups, particularly those composed of a high proportion of immigrants, may have distinctive patterns of involvement due to their family values, such an emphasis on educational achievement Glick, Ruf, Goldscheider and White, ; Schneider and Lee , cultural views about dating and premarital sexual behavior Espiritu and a heightened sense of obligation to the family Smith Racial Hierarchies Critical race perspectives focus on how certain race and gender groups are favored or marginalized in the mate market.

Variables Our analyses utilize an indicator of different-sex partnering based on the Wave IV interview. Analysis Plan We begin this study by contrasting men and women who are white, black, Hispanic, and Asian according to their current relationship status. Open in a separate window. Weighted estimates and unweighted sample sizes shown.

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The relationship between adolescent obesity and dating, sex, condom use, and pregnancy.

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dating and mate selection among young adults from immigrant families Dating and mate selection among young adults from immigrant families
dating and mate selection among young adults from immigrant families Dating and mate selection among young adults from immigrant families
dating and mate selection among young adults from immigrant families Dating and mate selection among young adults from immigrant families
dating and mate selection among young adults from immigrant families Dating and mate selection among young adults from immigrant families
dating and mate selection among young adults from immigrant families Dating and mate selection among young adults from immigrant families
dating and mate selection among young adults from immigrant families Dating and mate selection among young adults from immigrant families
dating and mate selection among young adults from immigrant families Dating and mate selection among young adults from immigrant families
dating and mate selection among young adults from immigrant families Dating and mate selection among young adults from immigrant families

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