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Appears in Collections:Psychology Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Relationship satisfaction and outcome in women who meet their partner while using oral contraception
Authors: Roberts, S Craig
Klapilova, Katerina
Little, Anthony
Burriss, Robert
Jones, Benedict C
DeBruine, Lisa M
Petrie, Marion
Havlicek, Jan
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Keywords: mate choice
contraceptive pill
relationship satisfaction
Issue Date: 7-Apr-2012
Publisher: The Royal Society
Citation: Roberts SC, Klapilova K, Little A, Burriss R, Jones BC, DeBruine LM, Petrie M & Havlicek J (2012) Relationship satisfaction and outcome in women who meet their partner while using oral contraception, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 279 (1732), pp. 1430-1436.
Abstract: Hormonal variation over the menstrual cycle alters women's preferences for phenotypic indicators of men's genetic or parental quality. Hormonal contraceptives suppress these shifts, inducing different mate preference patterns among users and non-users. This raises the possibility that women using oral contraception (OC) choose different partners than they would do otherwise but, to date, we know neither whether these laboratory-measured effects are sufficient to exert real-world consequences, nor what these consequences would be. Here, we test for differences in relationship quality and survival between women who were using or not using OC when they chose the partner who fathered their first child. Women who used OC scored lower on measures of sexual satisfaction and partner attraction, experienced increasing sexual dissatisfaction during the relationship, and were more likely to be the one to initiate an eventual separation if it occurred. However, the same women were more satisfied with their partner's paternal provision, and thus had longer relationships and were less likely to separate. These effects are congruent with evolutionary predictions based on cyclical preference shifts. Our results demonstrate that widespread use of hormonal contraception may contribute to relationship outcome, with implications for human reproductive behaviour, family cohesion and quality of life.
Type: Journal Article
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Rights: Publisher allows this work to be made available in this repository. Published in Proc. R. Soc. B 7 April 2012 vol. 279 no. 1732 1430-1436, by the Royal Society with the following policy: In relation to the Author Generated Postprint only, You (the author) are free to: post it on Your personal or institutional web site, load it onto an institutional or not for profit repository provided that a link to the Definitive Published Version is included. The original publication is available at
Notes: Supplementary material is available
Affiliation: Psychology
Charles University in Prague
University of Aberdeen
University of Aberdeen
Newcastle University
Charles University in Prague

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