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However, adults of different ages have distinct goals, priorities, and motivations, which their self-presentations to potential dating partners may convey.Predictions in this study were derived from three key theories—sociocultural theories, evolutionary theory, and socioemotional selectivity theory.We identified 12 themes in the profiles using Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count software (Pennebaker, Booth, & Francis, 2007).
Based on the structure of adulthood, young adults’ self-presentations may focus on life tasks aimed at gaining a foothold in adult roles, pursuing future achievements, and investing in potential procreation (and sexuality).
We collected 4,000 dating profiles from two popular websites to examine age differences in self-presentations.
We used stratified sampling to obtain a sample equally divided by gender, aged 18–95 years.
Older adults are utilizing online dating websites in increasing numbers.
Adults of different ages may share motivations for companionship and affection, but dating profiles may reveal differences in adults’ goals.
Indeed, popular media report that more older adults are finding dates online (Watson, 2013) with one source claiming that adults aged 60 and older represent the largest growing segment of adults using online dating websites (Ellin, 2014).