Sex Roles

, Volume 11, Issue 1–2, pp 17–23 | Cite as

The double standard in age-discrepant relationships

  • Gloria Cowan


If a double standard of aging exists, the relationship in which the female is older should be seen more negatively than the more traditional male-older relationship. This study examined the effects of both degree of age discrepancy and sex of the older person on attributions of success for relationships in both adult and adolescent samples. Both samples rated the highly discrepant female-older relationship (18 years difference) least probable of success. Level of discrepancy and sex of older person were significant factors for both groups. Surprisingly, both adult and adolescent males, in contrast to females, did not show the double standard in evaluating moderately discrepant relationship (7 years).


Social Psychology Adolescent Male Double Standard Adolescent Sample Discrepant Relationship 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bar-Tal, D., & Saxe, L. Perceptions of similarly and dissimilarly attractive couples and individuals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 1976, 33 33, 772–781.Google Scholar
  2. Harrison, A. A., & Saeed, L. Let's make a deal: An analysis of relevations and stipulations in lonely heart advertisements. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 1977, 35, 257–264.Google Scholar
  3. Safilios-Rothschild, C. Love, sex, and sex roles. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1977.Google Scholar
  4. Sherif, M., & Havland, C. I. Social judgment: Assimilation and contrast effects in communication and attitude change. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1961.Google Scholar
  5. Sigall, H., & Landy, D. Radiating beauty: The effects of having a physically attractive partner on person perception. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 1973, 28 218–224.Google Scholar
  6. Sontag, S. The double standard of aging. Saturday Review of the Society September, 1972, pp. 29–38.Google Scholar
  7. U.S. Bureau of the Census. Statistical abstract of the united States: 1979 (100th ed.), Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1979.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gloria Cowan
    • 1
  1. 1.California State CollegeSan Bernardino

Personalised recommendations