Recent Virginia Tech graduate Ruoxi Chen has won the nationally competitive Outstanding Dissertation Award from the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy for her dissertation, “A cross-cultural study of never-married Chinese and American adults’ mate selection perceptions and criteria.”

Chen received her Ph.D. in December 2013 from the Department of Human Development with a specialization in marriage and family therapy. 

Her doctoral committee was chaired by Virginia Tech human development faculty members Fred Piercy, professor; Scott Johnson, associate professor and director of the Family Therapy Center; Tina Savla, associate professor; and John Miller, professor at Nova Southeastern University.

Using a multi-group structural equation modeling, Chen found a number of differences between Chinese and American males and females regarding their mate selection perceptions and criteria. 

For example, Chen found that Chinese women had higher relative demands than American women did for status, family orientation, extraversion, and intellect, and lower relative demands than American women did for agreeableness and attractiveness.

Chinese men had a higher relative demand than American men did for family orientation, and both groups of men were willing to accept possible mates of lower intellect than their own. Women consistently held more stringent mate selection criteria than men did except for attractiveness. Also, Chinese participants were more receptive to media influence and felt more pressured regarding mate selection than did American participants.

Chen, who is from Chengdu, China, is currently completing a variety of publications and is an active member of a cross-national research project that includes participants from seven countries (China, Colombia, India, Iran, Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and the United States). She also is collaborating with Chinese colleagues on the development of a relationship education program for Chinese young adults.

The College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech includes programs in the arts, humanities, social and human sciences, and education. The college seeks to illuminate human experience and expression by creating works of lasting scholarly, cultural, and aesthetic value; empower individuals to engage critically with the complexities of a diverse, global society; and foster the inquiry, innovation, and growth that produce individual and social transformation.

Share this story