In order to integrate attachment and behavioral-ecological research on human mating, the current study examined how romantic attachment security and ecological condition related to female mating preferences. Ecological condition was manipulated experimentally by having 18–37-year-olds imagine themselves in each of three life circumstances (predictably safe, unpredictably safe-risky, predictably risky) and repeatedly complete the Birkbeck Mating Questionnaire for each scenario, as well as a widely used measure of romantic attachment (once). Results revealed consistent effects of ecological condition showing that mate preferences varied as a function of resource availability-predictability (e.g. as resources decrease what females reportedly seek in a mate become less important and earlier sexual intercourse along with shorter-term relationships is desired), but few effects of attachment.
Individual differences in female mate preferences as a function of attachment and hypothetical ecological conditions