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Dr. Elizabeth Morgan


It is frequently anticipated that men and women will differ with regards to relationship anxiety and avoidance as well as in self-ratings of physical attractiveness, emotional and intellectual intelligence, and communication abilities. In this study we measured self-reported relationship anxiety and avoidance and self-reported variables assessing various aspects of self-worth. There were a total of 232 participants, comprised of 116 heterosexual couples (116 men and 116 women). The average age of participants was 21.6; 80% were college students. Preliminary analyses showed that there were not many significant differences between the genders regarding relationship experiences or self-worth variables. Women reported marginally more relationship anxiety than men. Women also reported marginally higher self-reported emotional intelligence than men. there were not any gender differences on the other variables. Regarding associations between the self-worth and relationship variables, men’s self-reported physical attractiveness was negatively correlated with relationship avoidance, but not correlated with relationship anxiety. Women’s self-reported physical attractiveness was negatively correlated with relationship anxiety but not correlated with relationship avoidance, opposite to the men’s results. Regarding self-reported intellectual intelligence there were no significant correlations with relationship anxiety or avoidance for both men and women. Self-reported emotional intelligence was negatively correlated with relationship avoidance but not correlated with relationship anxiety for men. A similar pattern emerged for women: self-reported emotional intelligence was not correlated with anxiety, and was marginally negatively correlated with avoidance. In terms of communication ability, both men’s and women’s self-reported abilities were negatively correlated with both anxiety and avoidance. Lastly, relationship anxiety and avoidance are positively correlated with each other. These findings illustrate that there are not many gender differences in self-reported self-worth variables or relationship avoidance, though women did report marginally more relationship anxiety. Additionally, gender difference emerged in the relationships between self-worth variables and relationship anxiety and avoidance, though overall, higher emotional intelligence, physical attractiveness, and communication abilities were associated with less relationship anxiety and avoidance.