• Dejan Kantar Department of Psychology, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Banja Luka
  • Marija Zotović Department of Psychology, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Novi Sad
  • Siniša Subotić Department of Psychology & Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, University
Keywords: attachment dimensions, early adulthood, expressive traits, ideal partner, instrumental traits


The first aim of this study was to examine which psychological characteristics of an ideal partner are valued by female and male individuals in the early adulthood. The second goal is to determine whether the potential differences in the preferences regarding the traits of an ideal partner can be predicted by attachment-related anxiety and attachment-related avoidance. A convinient sample comprised 279 heterosexual students (51.6% girls), average age 20.33 years, who completed the Serbian Version of Modified and Revised Experiences in Close Relationships Scale (SM-ECR-R) and the Bem Sex-Role Inventory (BSRI), which was used as a measure of the desirable partner traits. The results show that females and males are mostly in agreement regarding the desirability of the ideal partner traits. They chose both expressive and instrumental traits, with a stronger preference for the former. Both females and males consider emotionally expressive individuals to be more desirable ideal partners, whith females describing their ideal partners through higher values on the measures of social dominance and emotional expressiveness.When individual differences are considered through two attachment dimensions, the results indicate that higher preference for social dominance is predicted by lower avoidance and lower anxiety, while higher preference for emotional expressiveness is predicted by lower avoidance and higher anxiety. This confirms the usefulness of the attachment theory in explaining the ideal partner traits preferences, although the usefulness is higher for the explaination of emotional expressiveness than social domination.


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