Publication Date

5-1-2007

Degree Program

Department of Sociology

Degree Type

Master of Arts

Abstract

With the increasing popularity and accessibility of the Internet, there is a need to reexamine dating and relationship preferences in the high-tech information age. Previously research pertaining to dating has focused on relationships and attitudes as well as the concept of homophily. In an effort to bridge the gap between previous dating conclusions and a modern means for meeting people, this research is an attempt to determine if previously established conclusions about homophily transcend to mate selection conducted through the use of the Internet. This research utilizes content analysis of online personal advertisements in order to compare the demographic characteristics and personal interests of advertisers with the characteristics and interests of those whom he or she is seeking. For this study a sample of 511 personal advertisements was selected from a popular national website service. The sample includes advertisers living in one southern U.S. city who are seeking either heterosexual or homosexual relationships. Using deductive coding to examine demographic and interest characteristics and inductive coding to explore the self-expressed behavior of the advertiser as well as the behavior sought, the principle of homophily was examined through descriptive statistics. Consistent with the prior literature, findings for this study suggest that certain demographic characteristics such as race, education, and marital status exhibit moderate to high degrees of homophily. Findings also suggest high to moderate degrees of homophily in other demographic characteristics such as body type, smoking habits, and alcohol-drinking habits. Results also show that personal-interest variables such as playing music, gardening, and health and fitness do not show evidence of homophily. It was also concluded that females, as opposed to males, tend to seek other people who have their same characteristics and interests.

Disciplines

Gender and Sexuality | Sociology