Please wait a minute...
Acta Psychologica Sinica    2016, Vol. 48 Issue (7) : 857-866     DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2016.00857
The influence of childhood stress and mortality threat on mating standards
WANG Jiaying1; CHEN Bin-Bin2
(1 Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027, U.S.A.) (2 Department of Psychology, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China)
Download: PDF(395 KB)   Review File (1 KB) 
Export: BibTeX | EndNote | Reference Manager | ProCite | RefWorks    

Life history theory focuses on interpreting organisms’ trade-off in the allocation of limited resource. Research shows that the childhood stress influences an individual’s life history strategies. Based on previous literature, this experiment investigated the interaction effect of childhood stress and current environment stress on men’s and women’s mating standards. Participants were 70 Chinese undergraduate students (59 females, 11 males) with ages ranging from 17 to 23 (M = 19.37, SD = 1.16). In the mortality threat condition, participants were primed by reading a news article on the recent increases in random violence and mortality in the country. In the control condition, participants were asked to read a paper about a person spending hours searching for the lost key in an afternoon. The two passages were similar in length and style and elicited similar levels of general arousal. Mating standards and childhood stress were measured by self-report scales. A series of independent-sample t-test results showed that with regard to resource, women’s standard was higher than men’s and single participants had lower mating standard than those in a relationship. After controlling gender and relationship status, regression analysis showed that the interaction effect only existed on the mating standard for physical attractiveness. Specifically, the participants with higher childhood stress showed significantly lower mating standard for physical attractiveness in the mortality condition than in the control condition, whereas the participants with less childhood stress showed higher mating standard for physical attractiveness in the mortality condition than in the control condition. Further, the participants with mortality prime had higher standard for good parent than the ones in the control group. No main or interaction effects were found on the mating standard for resource. The results indicated that the childhood stress and cues to environmental harshness might influence the mating standards, but they might have different impact on different mating standards.

Keywords mortality threat      childhood stress      mating standards      life history strategy      evolutionary psychology     
Corresponding Authors: CHEN Bin-Bin, E-mail:   
Issue Date: 25 July 2016
E-mail this article
E-mail Alert
Articles by authors
Cite this article:   
WANG Jiaying; CHEN Bin-Bin. The influence of childhood stress and mortality threat on mating standards[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica,2016, 48(7): 857-866.
URL:     OR
[1] WANG Yan, HOU Bowen, LI Xinyao, LI Xiaoxu, JIAO Lu.  he influence of different sex ratios and resource-gaining capability on male’s mating selection[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2017, 49(9): 1195-1205.
[2] LU Hui-Jing. Self-Deception: Deceiving Yourself to Better Deceive Others[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2012, 44(9): 1265-1278.
[3] LIU Xiao-Cen,SANG Biao,DOU Dong-Hui. Explicit and Implicit Self-Enhancement as Functions of Interpersonal Contexts[J]. , 2011, 43(11): 1293-1307.
[4] JIANG Ke,XIONG Zhe-Hong. Different Contents Different Inductive Inference: Under the Conditions of Embrace-Advantage and Resist-Disadvantage[J]. , 2010, 42(11): 1050-1059.
[5] David-M.-Buss. The Evolution of Human Mating[J]. , 2007, 39(03): 502-512.
[6] Valerie-G.-Starratt,Todd-K.-Shackelford,Aaron-T.-Goetz,William-F.-McKibbin. Male Mate Retention Behaviors Vary with Risk of Partner Infidelity
and Sperm Competition
[J]. , 2007, 39(03): 523-527.
[7] Lei-Chang. Some of the Whats, Whos, and Whens Related to Evolutionary Psychology[J]. , 2007, 39(03): 556-570.
[8] Irwin-Silverman. Why Evolutionary Psychology?[J]. , 2007, 39(03): 541-545.
[9] Xiao-Tian-Wang. Evolutionary Psychology of Investment Decisions: Expected Allocation of Personal Money and Differential Parental Investment in Sons and Daughters[J]. , 2007, 39(03): 406-414.
[10] Ye Haosheng. Theoretical Thinking about The Limitations of Evolutionary Psychology[J]. , 2006, 38(05): 784-790.
[11] Kuang Zhihua,Ye Haosheng. A REVIEW OF THREE NEW APPROACHES IN WESTERN PSYCHOLOGY[J]. , 2005, 37(05): 702-709.
Full text



Copyright © Acta Psychologica Sinica
Support by Beijing Magtech