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Certain Traits in Men, Women Linked to Marriage Likelihood

Update Date: Mar 11, 2014 02:59 PM EDT

Want to know if he'll put a ring on it? You're in luck. Psychologists have identified a few characteristics or personal traits that predispose a person towards either getting married or living with their partner.

The latest findings revealed that men and women who scored high on attractiveness, personality and grooming were significantly more likely to get married. However, these traits do not collectively have a strong influence on entering a romantic cohabitating relationship, according the study.

Researchers said the study also suggest consider many different personal characteristics when looking for a long-term partner. So, lacking in a specific area could be overcome with strength in another area.

"The findings highlight that Aristotle's famous quote 'The whole is more than the sum of its parts' is pertinent when it comes to personal characteristics and marital arrangements," study author Michael T. French, a professor of Health Economics in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Miami (UM), said in a news release.

In the latest study, researchers looked at three possible outcomes: marriage with or without prior cohabitation, cohabitation without subsequently getting married, and neither marriage nor cohabitation.

The study revealed that 52 percent of married participants and 51.7 percent of cohabiting participants who ended up getting married were rated as above average in physical attractiveness. On the other hand, 45.9 percent of participants in cohabitating relationship without subsequent marriage and 43.6 percent in neither marriage nor cohabitation scored above average on the attractiveness scale.  Researchers said the study revealed similar findings for personality and grooming.

However, the study did find some interesting sex differences when it came to marriage and cohabitation.

Researchers found that women with above average grooming were significantly less likely to cohabit without subsequent marriage. However, men with above average attractiveness were significantly more likely to cohabitate without subsequent marriage.

The study also found that having an above average personality was the strongest predictor of marriage for men.

"Thus, we have the somewhat curious finding that men with above average looks tend to be more likely to cohabit, while men with above average personalities tend to be more likely to marry (but less likely to cohabit)," researchers wrote.

The latest study involved 9,835 respondents that participated in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, with the analysis period lasting about eight years. Participants were between 24 and 34 years old, and had their personal characteristics rated by interviewers as they answered questions about marriage and cohabitation.

The findings are published in the journal Social Science Research.

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