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Title: Women's fear of crime and preference for formidable mates: how specific are the underlying psychological mechanisms?
Authors: Ryder, Hannah
Maltby, John
Rai, Lovedeep
Jones, Phil
Flowe, Heather D.
First Published: 29-Jan-2016
Publisher: Elsevier for Human Behavior and Evolution Society
Citation: Evolution and Human Behavior, 2016, 37 (4), pp. 293-302
Abstract: Previous research shows that feelings of vulnerability, as measured by fear of crime, are associated with preferences for physically formidable and dominant mates (PPFDM), ostensibly because of the physical protection such mates can afford. In the lab and in the field, we tested whether the relationship between PPFDM and fear of crime is pronounced when the risk of crime is relatively high, and for crimes that are evolutionarily more costly. In Study 1, women were presented with daytime and night time images that featured a lone shadowy male figure, crime hotspots and safespots, and they reported their risk of victimisation in the situation depicted in the image. In Study 2, we had female participants walk through crime hotspots and safespots in a city centre during the daytime, and had them report their perceived victimisation risk for different types of crime, perpetrated by a male- versus female. Participants in Study 1 and 2 also completed a scale that measures PPFDM. In both studies, we found that PPFDM was positively associated with fear of crime in hotspots and in safespots. Additionally, fear of crime was significantly affected by risk situation (i.e., safespot versus hotspot, night time versus daytime). The relationship between PPFDM and fear, however, did not vary in relation to risk situation, perpetrator gender, or crime type, suggesting that the psychological mechanisms underlying the relationship between perceived risk of victimisation and PPFDM are general in nature. Women who prefer physically formidable and dominant mates tend to feel more at risk of crime, regardless of the situational risk factors present.
DOI Link: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2016.01.005
ISSN: 1090-5138
Embargo on file until: 29-Jan-2017
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © Elsevier, 2016. This version of the article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License ( ), which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
Description: Following the embargo period the above license applies.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Neuroscience, Psychology and Behaviour

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