The emotional cost of poor mating performance

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Recent studies indicated that a considerable proportion of adult individuals experience poor mating performance: They face considerable difficulties in attracting and retaining mates. Using an evolutionary theoretical framework, we hypothesized that poor mating performance would be associated with more negative and fewer positive emotions as well as low life satisfaction. Evidence from an online sample of 735 participants provided strong support for this hypothesis. In particular, we found that individuals who indicated poor mating performance, experienced more negative emotions such as sadness and loneliness, and fewer positive emotions such as happiness and excitement, and they were less satisfied with their lives. On the other hand, those who indicated a good performance in mating, experienced more positive emotions and fewer negative emotions, and they were more satisfied with their lives. As indicated by the effect sizes, mating performance had a moderate to strong effect on positive and negative emotions and wellbeing. Also, consistent with the results of previous research, we found that about one in two participants faced difficulties in either starting or keeping an intimate relationship.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-192
Number of pages5
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Emotions
  • Evolutionary mismatch
  • Life satisfaction
  • Mating
  • Mating performance


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