WWJD: Who Would Jesus Date

John Unzueta


Anecdotal evidence suggests that Christian undergraduate dating markets are peculiar. This study seeks to understand this market in three ways: to measure dating preferences between college aged men and women; to compare and contrast these measurements with previously published estimates among graduate students; and to estimate the importance of spirituality for potential dating and marital partners.

We observed an undergraduate speed-dating event at a Christian undergraduate college campus. The event was modeled after Fisman et al. (2006, 2008) (Fisman, hereafter) speed dating experiment among graduate students. Following Fisman, subjects evaluated potential dating partners on the basis of attractiveness, intelligence, ambition, fun, and common interests. We extended Fisman’s study to include measures of spirituality and the importance of religion

Our findings indicate that preferences for undergraduate dating partners are broadly consistent with those observed among graduate students. Like Fisman, we also observed that men prefer intelligent women until the women’s intelligence exceeds his own. Unlike Fisman, however, we observed that women prefer intelligent men whenever the man’s intelligence exceeds her own. Surprisingly, and in contrast to Fisman’s study, we found that undergraduate females (Christian or otherwise) have stronger preferences for attractiveness than undergraduate males. We also found that Christian undergraduate men have stronger preferences for spirituality than Christian undergraduate women.

Our findings suggest that undergraduate preferences for dating partners differ in important and interesting ways from graduate students and that spirituality is an important factor for mate selection. The religious composition in our sample highlights the need for further study of dating and marital patterns among Christian undergraduates.


Christian, Mate-Selection, Preferences

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