ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2020, Vol. 52 ›› Issue (2): 207-215.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2020.00207

• Reports of Empirical Studies • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The influence of parent-child relationship and “good resource” on unmarried males’ unrestricted sociosexual attitudes

WANG Yan1(),HOU Bowen1,LIU Wenjin2   

  1. 1 Department of Psychology, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China
    2 Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, USA
  • Received:2019-06-20 Published:2020-02-25 Online:2019-12-24
  • Contact: Yan WANG


As a Chinese popular saying goes, “Money turns a good man into a bad man”. Is this saying reflecting the truth or not? This research would discuss this phenomenon from the evolutionary perspective.

“Good Resource” has been regarded as one of the most important aspects that males self-evaluate in the mating process. However, little has been known regarding whether and why male mating strategy would vary under different levels of resource availability. According to Life History Theory, the development of humans’ sexual strategy is based on childhood experiences, which would be influenced by current environmental conditions as well. According to previous research, two studies explored how resource-acquiring cues and childhood experiences (including childhood economic condition and parent-child relationship) would influence unmarried males’ unrestricted sociosexual attitudes.

Study 1 adopted the imaginary method, recruited 62 college students (M = 19.53 years, SD = 2.78) in a psychology class at Fudan University. Participants were randomly divided into two groups and filled their demographic information including childhood economic background and parent-child relationships, followed by the task of writing an article. The article was based on the imagination of living either a wealthy life or an underprivileged life. Participants completed the questionnaire adapted from the SOI-STMO (Sociosexual Orientation Inventory - Short-term Mating Orientation Scale; Jackson & Kirkpatrick, 2007) after writing the article. The results showed that parent-child relationship during early childhood was a moderator in the association between the quality of resource and their sexual attitudes. However, the moderating effect of childhood economic background was not found to be statistically significant.

Study 2 utilized Experiences in Close Relationships-Relationship Structures questionnaire (ECR-RS) to explore the moderating effect of attachment styles on the association between the quality of resource and participants’ sexual attitudes. Participants were randomly divided into two groups and filled out their demographic information including childhood economic background and the ECR-RS. Participants were presented with three pictures that showed either “good” or “bad” resource, wrote an article regarding the experience, and completed the questionnaire adapted from the Brief Sexual Attitudes Scale (Hendrick, Hendrick, & Reich, 2006). Participants’ photos of their own face were integrated in those pictures to increase a sense of authenticity. According to the results, avoidantly-attached behaviors in the early childhood had the most significant moderating effect on the relationship between resource-acquiring capability and participants’ sexual attitudes. To be specific, highly avoidant participants were more likely to have more open sexual attitudes if they had “good resource.” Those on the lower end of avoidance tended to show a significant lower level of unrestricted sexual attitudes under the situation of “good resource” (vs “bad resource”).

Given these two studies, the previous statement of “Money turns a good man into a bad man” seemed to be true only for those who showed an avoidant attachment style to their parents at the young age. The current study aimed to enrich the Life History Theory literature and provide useful implication and direction for future studies.

Key words: life history theory, good resource, childhood economic background, childhood parent-child relationship, unrestricted sociosexual attitudes

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