The Role of Physical Attraction and Social Factors in Human Relationships.

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The Role of Physical Attraction and Social Factors in Human Relationships.

Gail Drew (2003)

Department of Human and Health Sciences, University of Huddersfield, Queensgate, Huddersfield HD1 3DH.

Abstract

Objectives

The present study was partly based on previous research (Singh, 1993; 1994; Fallon and Rozin, 1985; Goodwin, 1990; Smith et al, 1990) to investigate the role of female body physical attractiveness and social factors between males and females in human relationships. The evolutionary theory and the social learning theory provide the basis of investigation. Four hypotheses were investigated, regarding female body shapes concerning their attractiveness. Three hypotheses were investigated in relation to personality factors, physical attributes and financial resources. Design

The present study used a self-report questionnaire design. There were three independent variables. The first independent variable consisted of female body shapes in the form of line drawings with four levels varying from (very slim to heavy). The second variable consisted of line drawings varying in female body shapes (underweight to overweight) with twelve levels in the waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) varying from 0.7 WHR (underweight) to 0.10 WHR (overweight). The third independent variable consisted of eighteen social factors. A repeated measures design was employed for all conditions. A number of one-factor repeated measures ANOVA’s and a number of independent t-tests were employed for the results analysis. Method

57 couples took part in the present study (57 males and 57 females). The length of relationships ranged from 2 weeks to 26 years. The sex and length of relationship was recorded. The participant’s age, background, profession, and religion were not recorded. Participants were gathered using a stratified sample. Their tasks were to rate female body shapes in the form of silhouettes and line drawings, on their attractiveness. Participants were also required to rate eighteen personality factors they considered importance in their partner, which were later collapsed into three variables (personality factors, physical attributes and financial resources). Results

The results analyse revealed that females significantly selected a larger female body shape for them selves compared to the female body shape their partner’s perceive them to be F = 2.802, (df = 3, 168) P < 0.042. A significant difference was found between the body shapes male and female participants choose as being the ideal female body shape F = 41.602, (df = 3, 168) P < 0.005. However this was not in the predicted direction of the research hypothesis. Within the waist to hip ratio, males significantly selected an ideal curvaceous female body shape of 0.7 with a low waist to hip ratio (WHR) compared to the females F = 4.523, (df = 11, 616) P < 0.005. Employing a number of independent t-tests the statistical analysis revealed that females overall in the relationship groups significantly selected a thinner female body shape as being most attractive to those of the males, 2 and 63 months (t = -2.038, df = 94.031, P < 0.044), 64 and 132 months (t = -2.048, df = 73.747, P < 0.044), 133 and 372 months (t = -2.035, df = 88.600, P = 0.045). For the personality factors that males and females considered as being important in their partners a significant difference was found for each of the relationship groups, with females valuing personality factors higher than males, between 2 and 63 months (t = 3.223, df = 32.632, P < 0.003), 66 and 132 months (t = 3.648, df = 34, P < 0.001), 133 and 372 months (t = 3.912, df = 15.435, P < 0.001). The physical attributes the males and females considered important in their partners also revealed a significant difference for each of the relationship groups with males valuing physical attributes higher than females, 2 and 63...
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