Date of Thesis

Spring 2019


This study builds upon previous research that demonstrates how various demographic characteristics, as well as relationship type, affects trait preferences for potential mate partners. This study also explores the potential effects of religious affiliation and religiosity on trait preferences, as no previous research explicitly tests how individuals’ religious affiliation or strength of religiosity influences their rank ordering of potential partner traits. Seven hypotheses were proposed, as well as four points of exploration regarding sexuality, relationship status, religious affiliation, and race were proposed. Hypotheses 1, which predicted that women will rank financial stability higher than men and that men will rank physical attractiveness higher than women; Hypothesis 2, which predicted that gay people will rank religiously-oriented traits and the desire for the same number of children lower than their straight counterparts; Hypothesis 3, which predicted that gay men will rank financial stability higher than straight men and that lesbians will rank intelligence higher than straight women; and Hypothesis 4, which predicted that older people will rank religiously-oriented traits and political and moral similarity higher than younger people, who will rank humor higher, were supported. However, Hypothesis 5, which predicted that religious people will rank religiously-oriented traits higher than non-religious people, was not supported, with results suggesting an effect opposite to the effect predicted. Hypothesis 6, which predicted that more group differences will be present for long term relationships than short term relationships was mostly supported. Hypothesis 7, which predicted that results will remain consistent across nationalities, was unable to be tested because of inconsistencies in the data. Effects of the proposed exploratory demographics were identified. Possible explanations for unpredicted and exploratory results, as well as limitations and future directions, including remaining gaps in research, are discussed.


mate preferences, trait preferences, religion, religiosity, sexual orientation

Access Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Type

Bachelor of Arts



Second Major

Religious Studies

First Advisor

T. Joel Wade