Husband's Esteem Predicts His Mate Retention Tactics

Holden, Christopher J.; Shackelford, Todd K.; Zeigler-Hill, Virgil; Miner, Emily J.; Kaighobadi, Farnaz; Starratt, Valarie G.; Jeffery, Austin John; Buss, David M.
July 2014
Evolutionary Psychology;2014, Vol. 12 Issue 3, p655
Academic Journal
Men sometimes enact mate retention tactics to thwart a partner's infidelity or prevent their defection from the relationship. These tactics include low-risk acts that render the current relationship more attractive by bestowing benefits on the woman, as well as cost-inflicting acts that render defection from the relationship risky or dangerous for her. Previous research has linked men's mate retention behavior with men's mate value (value as a current or potential partner) using women's reports. The current research addresses limitations of that research using self-reports and cross-spousal reports from 107 married couples concerning their self-esteem and their esteem for their partner. The results indicate that the level of esteem that wives have for their husbands is positively associated with their perception of their husband's use of positive inducements and negatively associated with their husband's self-reported use of cost-inflicting mate retention behaviors (i.e., Direct Guarding, Intersexual Negative Inducements, and Intrasexual Negative Inducements). The level of self-esteem reported by men was negatively associated with their self-reported direct guarding behavior. Discussion explores the possibility that esteem--both self-esteem and esteem from one's partner--functions as an internal gauge of relative mate value.


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