Award Date

8-1-2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Communication

First Committee Member

Erin M. Sahlstein

Second Committee Member

Tara McManus

Third Committee Member

Tara Emmers-Sommer

Fourth Committee Member

Katherine Hertlein

Number of Pages

73

Abstract

First dates represent an important early event in the development of dating relationships. Commonly, date initiation is a behavior in which men take control; however, more women are attempting this task. Women initiating dates is a deviation from cultural norms or what society views as expected behavior. The deviation in behavior could have negative repercussions for women, which was investigated for the current study. College-aged participants (n = 232) completed an online survey regarding their perceptions of two hypothetical women who initiated dates. Informed by Expectancy Violations Theory, the expectedness and valence of the date-initiation behavior and mode of follow-up communication was examined in order to gain insight into the perceptions of this dating issue. The majority of the participants reported positive perceptions of women who initiated dates. Men had slightly more positive perceptions than women. Also, texting was the most positive and expected mode of follow-up communication. This study reveals perceptions on present dating trends and provides insight into possible shifts in the future from traditional gender roles in dating situations.

Keywords

Assertiveness (Psychology); Date initiation; Dating (Social customs); Man-woman relationships; Sex differences

Disciplines

Communication | Interpersonal and Small Group Communication

Language

English


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