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Love Matches and Arranged Marriages: A Chinese Replication

Xu Xiaohe and Martin King Whyte
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 52, No. 3 (Aug., 1990), pp. 709-722
DOI: 10.2307/352936
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/352936
Page Count: 14
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Love Matches and Arranged Marriages: A Chinese Replication
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Abstract

Data from a probability sample of 586 ever-married women in Chengdu, Sichuan, in the People's Republic of China, are used to examine the transition from arranged to free-choice marriages in that society. Retrospective data on mate-choice experiences reveal that the role of parents has declined sharply, while young people more and more dominate the process of spouse selection. However, the transition toward free mate choice appears to have made little further headway in recent years, and there is still little sign of a "dating culture" emerging. Variations in mate-choice experiences are used to test the prediction of defenders of arranged marriage that "love matches start out hot and grow cold, while arranged marriages start out cold and grow hot." In a partial replication of an investigation of the same question conducted by Robert Blood in Tokyo, Japan, in 1959, the evidence refutes this prediction. Multiple regression analyses indicate that wives in Chengdu love matches are more satisfied with their marital relationships than their counterparts in arranged marriages, regardless of the length of the marriage, and that this difference cannot be attributed to the influence of other background factors that differentiate these two types of women.

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