Men Seek Social Status, Women Seek Companionship in Relationships

C. Price
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While self-esteem can be impacted by the start or end of a relationship, a new study finds men and women arrive at it in different ways.

For the research, which appeared in the journal Psy­cho­log­i­cal Sci­ence, both men and women were surveyed on how self-esteem is influenced under various relationship scenarios.

Participants were also asked to imagine their own relationship ending and evaluate how their self-esteem would be impacted by such a split.

In hypothetical situations, men were found to depend less on a relationship for self-worth compared to women.

However, when asked about their own relationships, men reported a greater dependence on the union to determine their personal self-esteem.


“Men reported a greater dependence on a

relationship to determine their self-esteem.”

While both genders were found to rely on their relationship for self-esteem, for women it is gained through their loving connection with their partner.

Men were found to worry more about a loss of social standing should a breakup occur.

“Men and wom­en alike in­di­cat­ed that men are less re­li­ant on rela­t­ion­ships as a source of self-worth than are wom­en,” researchers wrote.

However, “Men re­ported bas­ing their self-es­teem on their own rela­t­ion­ship sta­tus (wheth­er or not they were in a relationship) more than did wom­en, and this link was sta­tis­tic­ally me­diat­ed by the perceived im­por­tance of rela­t­ion­ships as a source of so­cial stand­ing,” they added.

Lead author Dr. Tracy Kwang, a social psychologist at the University of Texas at Austin, said the relationship was found to be much more of a marker of stability and standing for men.

“Men immediately became concerned with achievement, while women immediately turned their attention to connection,” she said.

Source: Psychological Science. Photo source: