Sex Roles

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 1-14

First online:

University students' priorities: Life goals vs. relationships

  • Joy Fisher HammerslaAffiliated withSeattle Pacific University
  • , Lynne Frease-McMahanAffiliated withSeattle Pacific University

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To assess the importance of life goals and relationships, a specially designed Life Goals Scale was administered to 303 university students (200 women and 103 men). Women's average ratings for relationships exceeded those of men. Men and women did not differ in average importance ratings of goals nor in tendency to sacrifice goals for a heterosexual relationship. Seventy-three percent were willing to sacrifice a majority of their goals for the relationship. The goal vs. relationship choices were influenced by sex role orientation, by dating status, and by the importance of marriage. Gender, age, year in school, parents' marital status, and grade point average were unrelated to goal vs. relationship choices. Stepwise multiple regression analyses indicated different predictors of goal vs. relationship choices for men and women.