Parental choice: exploring in-law preferences and their contingencies in the Greek-Cypriot culture.

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Despite the fact that parents exercise considerable influence over their children's choice of a mate, little is known of their preferences for daughters- and sons-in-law, particularly in a post-industrial context. This research aims to close the gap in our knowledge by making a taxonomic contribution on the qualities desired in an in-law. In particular, parents have rated the desirability of 88 traits in a prospective daughter-in-law and a son-in-law; using principal components analysis, these traits have been classified into 11 broader in-law preferences. On the basis of this classification, four hypotheses were tested: First, parents ascribe different weights to different traits; second, parental preferences are contingent upon the sex of the in-law (i.e., certain traits are valued differently in a son- and in a daughter-in-law); third, parents have a preference for assortative mating (i.e., they want their prospective in-laws and their families to be similar to them); and fourth, in-law preferences are independent of the sex of the parent (i.e., mothers and fathers are in agreement with respect to what qualities they seek in a spouse for their children). The results from two independent studies provide support for the first three hypotheses, but little support for the fourth hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-72
Number of pages19
JournalEvolutionary psychology : an international journal of evolutionary approaches to psychology and behavior
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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