Research shows women who feel more at risk of crime also prefer physically dominant partners
Women who prefer physically formidable and dominant mates (PPFDM) tend to feel more at risk of crime regardless of the situation or risk factors present, according to researchers from the Department of Neuroscience, Psychology and Behaviour.
Previous research suggests that women who grow up in high-crime areas and perceive they are at risk of criminal victimisation find dominant men more appealing, perhaps because of the protection they can offer.
However, the team suggests that women who are attracted to dominant men generally feel more at risk of victimisation, even when their risk of victimisation is actually low.
PhD researcher Hannah Ryder from the Department of Neuroscience, Psychology and Behaviour, explained: “PPFDM appears to be associated with women’s self-assessed vulnerability. Women with strong PPFDM feel relatively more at risk, fearful, and vulnerable to criminal victimisation compared to their counterparts, regardless of whether there are situational risk factors present.
“Our research suggests that the relationship between feelings of vulnerability, as measured by fear of crime, and women’s preference for physically formidable and dominant mates is stable, and does not update according to environmental circumstances or relative level of protection needed.”
The research was undertaken as part of Hannah’s PhD project and was funded by a Psychology Postgraduate Affairs Group (PsyPAG) research grant.
Study co-authors include Dr Heather Flowe from Loughborough University, Dr John Maltby and Lovedeep Rai from the University of Leicester and Dr Phil Jones from the University of Birmingham.