Mate Retention Behaviours and Jealousy in Hypothetical Mate-Poaching Situations: Measuring the Effects of Sex, Context, and Rivals’ Attributes

Bruna S. Nascimento, Anthony Little

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Individuals have been found to perform a range of behaviours to retain their partners. This study investigated whether potential rivals’ attributes and the situation influence individuals’ intentions to display these mate retention strategies. University students (119) were assigned either to the university party or academic event situation. After reading each of five different scenarios manipulating a potential rival’s characteristics (social dominance, status, physical dominance, physical attractiveness and seductive behaviours), participants reported their intentions to use mate-retention strategies in the presence of rivals possessing each of the attributes above. The situation did not significantly influence the frequency of mate retention. Individuals reported higher intentions to use mate-retention strategies in the presence of attractive and seductive rivals in comparison to the other attributes. These differences were stronger among women than men. Overall, this study demonstrated that the attributes of a potential rival play an important role in determining the frequency of mate-retention strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-29
Number of pages10
JournalEvolutionary Psychological Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


  • Mate-retention strategies
  • Rivals’ attributes
  • Sex differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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