Date of Award

Summer 2006

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Franzoi, Stephen

Second Advisor

Sheikh, Anees

Third Advisor

Oswald, Debra


The present study explored whether college women have a preference for selecting dating partners who provide self-verifying versus self-enhancing feedback about their bodies. Research literature on self-evaluation has shown that people are motivated to both confirm their sense of self while also trying to enhance their self-concept. In recognition of these dual motivations, the present study attempted to explore how these self-evaluation processes were influenced by body-concept considerations and variations in feedback from potential dating partners. A sample of 83 undergraduate women were given fictional feedback from potential dating partners, and they were asked to make ratings regarding the degree of interest they had in pursuing both a short-term and long-term relationship. The study also explored how interest levels varied based on different types of feedback for three components of body esteem: sexual attractiveness, physical condition, and weight concern. In addition to exploring preferences in feedback, the present study also attempted to explore motives that may guide college women in selecting dating partners based on the feedback they receive about their bodies. Participants were asked to elaborate on their decision making process, and judges independently coded their responses to understand the motivations behind their selections of dating partners. Some but not all of the hypotheses were supported by the data. The results were discussed within the context of existing body-concept and self-evaluation literature.



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