Using vital statistics collected on brides and grooms in most U.S. states between 1970 and 1988, we show that the older men are when they marry, the more years senior to their brides they are, whether it is a first or higher-order marriage. While older men with more education marry down in age slightly more than less educated older men, the pattern of men marrying down more if they marry later holds strongly for all education groups. We consider several possible explanations for the tendency of men to marry down in age more if they are older at marriage. While we have no direct measure of beauty, we argue that the most compelling interpretation is that men, more than women, evaluate potential spouses on the basis of beauty. Since the prevailing standard of beauty favors young women, the older men are when they marry, the more they find women their own age unattractive relative to younger women, leading them to marry down in age more if they are older at marriage. The consequence for women of men’s preference for youth is more often that they remain unmarried than that they end up married to less educated men.
This paper unites quantitative and qualitative data from the College Social Life Survey (n = 732) to describe and explain patterns of racial homophily in undergraduate sexual/romantic relationships at an elite university, a closed social setting. It expands the literature on interracial romantic unions by comparing homophily in hookups (uncommitted sexual interactions), dates, and long-term relationships. Although this population embodies many characteristics associated with greater racial mixing (youth, education, status equality, geographical proximity, racial diversity, independence from family), racial homophily is still strongly evident. Variation in levels of homophily among relationship types and among racial groups is explained by differences in desired homophily, social network segregation, and participation in formal race-based student organizations. Black students are particularly socially isolated.
In this article I evaluate the effect of physical attractiveness on young adults’ sexual and romantic outcomes in order to reveal gender differences in acted preferences. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), a probability sample of young adults (n = 14,276), I investigate gender differences in desired sexual partner accumulation, relationship status, and timing of sexual intercourse. I find gender differences in sexual and romantic strategies, consistent with those predicted by the double standard of sexuality and evolutionary theory. Specifically, compared to men, women pursue more committed relationships, fewer sexual partners, and delayed sexual intercourse.
This theoretical review develops weight self-concept (perception of one’s body as thin/overweight) as a dimension of self-concept and distinguishes it from body image (affective evaluation of one’s body) which is a dimension of self-esteem. It proposes that weight self-concept and body image might resemble other dimensions of self-concept and self-esteem in that they coalesce after the instability of adolescence and are thereafter resistant to change. Therefore, in considering the determinants of weight self-concept and body image this paper reviews the literature on those aspects of the adolescent experience which influence weight self-concept and body image, particularly pubertal timing. This paper also addresses the implications that weight self-concept might have for understanding identity formation and identification with stigmatized groups (such as overweight). The conclusion discusses the importance of interventions during pre-adolescence to prevent the development of a stigmatized, overweight self-concept and negative body image.
I am an assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. I teach undergraduate and graduate-level courses on gender, family, and research methods. I completed my BA at Princeton University and my PhD at Stanford University. I live in South Bend, IN, with my husband and our two rescued dogs.
(I post about new research, entries on my PT blog, forthcoming publications, and media coverage of my work. Usually 2-3 tweets a month, max.)