Patterns and Universals of Mate Poaching Across 53 Nations: The Effects of Sex, Culture, and Personality on Romantically Attracting Another Person's Partner

David P. Schmitt, Lidia Alcalay, Jüri Allik, Alois Angleitner, Lara Ault, Ivars Austers, Kevin L. Bennett, Gabriel Bianchi, Fredric Boholst, Mary Ann Borg Cunen, Johan Braeckman, Edwin G. Brainerd, Leo Gerard A. Caral, Gabrielle Caron, Maria Martina Casullo, Michael Cunningham, Ikuo Daibo, Charlotte De Backer, Eros De Souza, Rolando Diaz-LovingGláucia Diniz, Kevin Durkin, Marcela Echegaray, Ekin Eremsoy, Harald A. Euler, Ruth Falzon, Maryanne L. Fisher, Dolores Foley, Douglas P. Fry, Sirspa Fry, M. Arif Ghayur, Debra L. Golden, Karl Grammer, Liria Grimaldi, Jamin Halberstadt, Shamsul Haque, Dora Herrera, Janine Hertel, Heather Hoffmann, Danica Hooper, Zuzana Hradilekova, Jasna Hudek-Kene-evi, Jas Jaafar, Margarita Jankauskaite, Heidi Kabangu-Stahel, Igor Kardum, Brigitte Khoury, Hayrran Kwon, Kaia Laidra, Anton Rupert Laireiter, Dustin Lakerveld, Ada Lampert, Maryanne Lauri, Marguerite Lavallée, Suk Jae Lee, Luk Chung Leung, Kenneth D. Locke, Vance Locke, Ivan Luksik, Ishmael Magaisa, Dalia Marcinkeviciene, André Mata, Rui Mata, Barry McCarthy, Michael E. Mills, Nhlanhla J. Mkhize, João Moreira, Sérgio Moreira, Miguel Moya, M. Munyae, Patricia Noller, Adrian Opre, Alexia Panayiotou, Nebojsa Petrovic, Karolien Poels, Miroslav Popper, Maria Poulimenou, Volodymyr P'yatokha, Michel Raymond, Ulf Dietrich Reips, Susan E. Reneau, Sofia Rivera-Aragon, Wade C. Rowatt, Willibald Ruch, Velko S. Rus, Marilyn P. Safir, Sonia Salas, Fabio Sambataro, Kenneth N. Sandnabba, Marion K. Schulmeyer, Astrid Schütz, Tullio Scrimali, Todd K. Shackelford, Phillip R. Shaver, Francis Sichona, Franco Simonetti, Tilahun Sineshaw, Tom Speelman, Spyros Spyrou, H. Canan Sümer, Nebi Sümer, Marianna Supekova, Tomasz Szlendak, Robin Taylor, Bert Timmermans, William Tooke, Ioannis Tsaousis, F. S.K. Tungaraza, Griet Vandermassen, Tim Vanhoomissen, Frank Van Overwalle, Ine Vanwesenbeeck, Paul L. Vasey, João Verissimo, Martin Voracek, Wendy W.N. Wan, Ta Wei Wang, Peter Weiss, Andik Wijaya, Liesbeth Woertman, Gahyun Youn, Agata Zupanèiè

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


As part of the International Sexuality Description Project, 16,954 participants from 53 nations were administered an anonymous survey about experiences with romantic attraction. Mate poaching - romantically attracting someone who is already in a relationship - was most common in Southern Europe, South America, Western Europe, and Eastern Europe and was relatively infrequent in Africa, South/Southeast Asia, and East Asia. Evolutionary and social-role hypotheses received empirical support. Men were more likely than women to report having made and succumbed to short-term poaching across all regions, but differences between men and women were often smaller in more gender-egalitarian regions. People who try to steal another's mate possess similar personality traits across all regions, as do those who frequently receive and succumb to the poaching attempts by others. The authors conclude that human mate-poaching experiences are universally linked to sex, culture, and the robust influence of personal dispositions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)560-584
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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