Finding the Mating Gear: The Development and Validation of a Mate Access Scale

C. Walldén*, M. Westerlund, A. Gunst, P. Santtila, J. Antfolk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Difficulties in finding mates may have broad consequences for well-being. Previous studies often assume that only personal characteristics or competition limits mating success without considering the impact of the social context. We developed and evaluated a questionnaire for measuring context-dependent mate access by surveying 528 Finnish adults. We found support for our hypothesized two-factor structure divided into preferred encounters (i.e., the amount of interactions the individual has with potential mates) and perceived possibilities (i.e., the individual’s perception of their mating opportunities). We also investigated the relationship between these factors and respondents’ social context, negative affect regarding poor mate access, mate value, and sociosexual desire. Individuals in more sociable contexts reported higher mate access, and individuals with less perceived possibilities reported more negative affect. Theoretical associations with mate value and sociosexual desire were supported. The current scale can be used along existing measures to study human mating and its psycho-behavioral correlates.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEvolutionary Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • mate access
  • mate value
  • mating possibilities
  • social context
  • sociosexual desire


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