Will I Divorce or Have a Happy Marriage?: Gender Differences in Comparative Optimism and Estimation of Personal Chances Among U.S. College Students
Student author: Hilary G. Harding
Basic and Applied Social Psychology
Previous research shows inconsistent evidence in regard to gender differences in optimism for experiencing a happy marriage or avoiding divorce depending on whether optimism is measured as comparative optimism (thinking you are better off than your peers) or as personal optimism (estimating your own chances). Results from four samples of unmarried college students (N = 814) indicated that men exhibited greater comparative optimism than women for having a happy marriage but not for getting divorced. For having a happy marriage and avoiding divorce, men exhibited greater personal optimism relative to women. Experience (with parental divorce) moderated the gender difference in personal optimism and perceived control partially mediated the gender difference in comparative optimism (but only for having a happy marriage) and in personal optimism (for both having a happy marriage and avoiding divorce). Results are discussed as they relate to the existing literatures on risk perception and gender differences in romantic relationships.
Helweg-Larsen, Marie, Hilary G. Harding, and William M. P. Klein. "Will I Divorce or Have a Happy Marriage?: Gender Differences in Comparative Optimism and Estimation of Personal Chances Among U.S. College Students." Basic and Applied Social Psychology 33, no. 2 (2011): 157-166. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01973533.2011.568874