Volume 12

Who Believes in the Fairy Tale? Attitudes about Love Based on Gender and Self-Esteem

Margaret Campbell

Many factors affect an individual’s attitudes and actions associated with love. Past research has found both gender and self-esteem differences in love styles and attitudes about love. This study was designed to update these findings and expand upon the aspects of love being investigated and the possible factors that might affect individuals’ attitudes and love styles. Participants consisted of 120 undergraduate college students and recent college graduates, with an equal number of men and women in the sample. Participants provided demographic information and were then asked to read a scenario regarding possible romantic relationships and respond to their beliefs about the couple in the scenario. Additionally, participants completed a self-esteem scale and a scale measuring their love styles. Results indicated that men subscribe more to a game-playing attitude about love and focus more on physical aspects of romance, while women identify more with the areas of love concerning intimacy, self-disclosure, and mania and focus more on emotional aspects of romance. Furthermore, participants with high self-esteem subscribed more to self-disclosing and intimate love styles than participants with low self-esteem.

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