Sex Roles

, Volume 28, Issue 9–10, pp 499–509 | Cite as

Young singles' contemporary dating scripts

  • Suzanna Rose
  • Irene Hanson Frieze


Single women's and men's scripts for a hypothetical and actual first date were investigated for a sample of 135 predominately white undergraduates. Strong scripts were found for both. Hypothetical scripts contained 19 actions for women and men; actual dates consisted of 20 actions for women and 15 for men. Hypothetical scripts constituted a core action sequence that were embellished upon in actual dates. Gender-typed actions were evidenced as strongly for actual dates as hypothetical ones. A proactive male role and a reactive female role were reflected in script content as well as quantitative measures. Actual dates also were characterized by numerous interruptions of the hypothesized sequence.


Social Psychology Quantitative Measure Actual Date Action Sequence Single Woman 
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. Abelson, R. P. (1976). Script processing in attitude formation and decision making. In J. S. Carroll & J. W. Payne (Eds.), Cognition and social behavior. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  2. Abelson, R. P. (1981). Psychological status of the script concept. American Psychologist, 36, 715–29.Google Scholar
  3. Basow, S., & Kobrynowicz, D. (1990, August). How much is she eating? Impressions of a female eater. Paper presented at the meeting of the American Psychological Association, Boston. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 326 827.)Google Scholar
  4. Bower, G. H., Black, J. B., & Turner, T. J. (1979). Scripts in memory for text. Cognitive Psychology, 11, 177–220.Google Scholar
  5. Cate, R. M., & Lloyd, S. A. (1988). Courtship. In S. W. Duck (Ed.), Handbook of personal relationships. New York: John Wiley.Google Scholar
  6. Davis, S. (1990). Men as success objects and women as sex objects: A study of personal advertisements. Sex Roles, 23, 43–50.Google Scholar
  7. Gagnon, J. H. (1977). Human sexualities. Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman.Google Scholar
  8. Ginsburg, G. P. (1988). Rules, scripts and prototypes in personal relationships. In S. W. Duck (Ed.), Handbook of personal relationships. New York: John Wiley.Google Scholar
  9. Grauerholz, E., & Serpe, R. T. (1985). Initiation and response: The dynamics of sexual interaction. Sex Roles, 9/10, 1041–1059.Google Scholar
  10. Green, S. K., Buchanan, D. R., & Heuer, S. K. (1984). Winners, losers, and choosers: A field investigation of dating initiation. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 10, 502–511.Google Scholar
  11. Green, S. K., & Sandos, P. (1983). Perceptions of male and female initiators of relationships. Sex Roles, 9, 849–852.Google Scholar
  12. Himaki, W. C., Arkowitz, H., Hinton, R., & Perl, J. (1980). Minimal dating and its relationship to other social problems and general adjustment. Behavior Therapy, 11, 345–352.Google Scholar
  13. Levinger, G. (1983). Development and change. In H. H. Kelley et al. (Eds.), Close relationships. San Francisco: W. H. Freeman.Google Scholar
  14. Levinger, G., & Snoek, J. D. (1972). Attraction in relationship: A new look at interpersonal attraction. Morristown, NJ: General Learning.Google Scholar
  15. McCabe, M. P., & Collins, J. K. (1984). Measurement of depth of desired and experienced sexual involvement at different stages of dating. Journal of Sex Research, 20, 377–390.Google Scholar
  16. McCormick, N. B., & Jesser, C. J. (1983). The courtship game: Power in the sexual encounter. In E. R. Allgeier & N. B. McCormick (Eds). Changing boundaries: Gender roles and sexual behavior. Palo Alto, CA: Mayfield.Google Scholar
  17. Muehlenhard, C. L., & MacNaughton, J. S. (1988). Women's beliefs about women who “lead men on.” Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 7, 65,-79.Google Scholar
  18. Roche, J. P. (1986). Premarital sex: Attitudes and behavior by dating stage. Adolescence, 21, 107–121.Google Scholar
  19. Rose, S., & Frieze, I. H. (1989). Young singles' scripts for a first date. Gender and Society, 3, 258–268.Google Scholar
  20. Schank, R. C., & Abelson, R. P. (1987). Scripts, plans, goals, and understanding. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  21. Simon, W., & Gagnon, J. H. (1986). Sexual scripts: Permanence and change. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 15, 97–120.Google Scholar
  22. Tiggemann, M., & Rothblum, E. D. (1988). Gender differences in social consequences of perceived overweight in the United States and Australia. Sex Roles, 18, 75–86.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Suzanna Rose
    • 1
  • Irene Hanson Frieze
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Missouri—St. LouisSt. Louis
  2. 2.University of PittsburghUSA

Personalised recommendations