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Chen Wins Outstanding Dissertation Award

Dr. Ruoxi Chen recently won the nationally-competitive Outstanding Dissertation Award from the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy for her dissertation, “A cross-cultural study of never-married Chinese and American adults’ mate selection perceptions and criteria.”   Dr. Chen received her PhD in December, 2013, from the Department of Human Development, with a specialization in Marriage and Family Therapy.  Her doctoral committee included John Miller (from Nova Southeastern University), Scott Johnson, Tina Savla, and Fred Piercy, chair.

In her study, Chen used multiple-group structural equation modeling to compare the fit of competing theoretical models of the mate selection process. She also found a number of differences between Chinese and American males and females regarding their mate selection perceptions and criteria.  For example, Chen found that Chinese women had higher relative demands than American women did for status, family orientation, extraversion, and intellect, and lower relative demands than American women did for agreeableness and attractiveness. Chinese men had a higher relative demand than American men did for family orientation, and both groups of men were willing to accept possible mates of lower intellect than their own. Women consistently held more stringent mate selection criteria than men did except for attractiveness. Additionally, Chinese participants were more receptive to media influence and felt more pressured regarding mate selection than did American participants.

Dr. Chen, whose hometown is Chengdu, China, is currently completing a variety of publications and is an active member of a cross-national research project that includes participants from seven countries (Colombia, India, Iran, Indonesia, the Philippines, and the United States) and two regions of China (mainland China and Taiwan).  She also is collaborating with Chinese colleagues on the development of a relationship education program for Chinese young adults.