Among College Students, Tradition Holds Sway When It Comes to Gender Roles in Marriage Proposals

robnett-rachaelA study by Rachael Robnett, a doctoral student in psychology at the University of California at Santa Cruz, has found that both college-age men and women are traditional when it comes to who should propose marriage. Robnett reports that not one man in her survey chose the option “I would definitely want my partner to propose.” And not one woman chose the option “I would definitely want to propose.”

About two thirds of both men and women said they definitely would want the man to be the one to propose marriage. About 17 percent of men and 9 percent of women said it didn’t matter who proposed.

The survey also asked women if they planned to take their husband’s last name when they got married. Less than 18 percent of respondents said they were either “very unwilling” or “somewhat unwilling” to change their name.

“Given the prevalence of liberal attitudes among students at the university where data collection took place it is striking that so many participants held traditional preferences,” Robnett said. “Even more surprising is that many participants overtly state that their preferences were driven by a desire to adhere to gender-role traditions.”

The study, “Girls Don’t Propose! Ew” was published in the January issue of the Journal of Adolescent Research. The article can be accessed here.

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