Findings of this study are interesting in that they reinforce some of the earlier findings and fail to support others. For example, it was expected that women will make more love-related offerings in their ads than would men. In this study, the support for sex-related differences between men and women in their self-descriptions related to love was not statistically significant, which is contrary to studies by Hirschman (1977), Gonzales and Myers (1993), and Koestner and Wheeler (1988). On the other hand, significant differences were reported in references to physical characteristics across both gender as well as country. Hong Kong residents made the most number of comments related to physical characteristics, possibly a reflection of the racial and ethnic diversity of advertisers from this region. (Recall that a perusal of Hong Kong ads suggested that many were posted by ex-pats.)
In keeping with evolutionary psychology, it was postulated that women would be more attracted to someone with a higher education, occupational status and intelligence. Consequently, men, to enhance the odds of initiating and maintaining a viable relationship were expected to stress their educational attributes, occupational status, and intellect more than women (see Gonzales & Myers, 1993). The current study did not support this evolutionary paradigm. This is a counter-intuitive finding that deserves more research.
We hypothesized thatAustralians would make more love-related references than Indians or Hong Kong residents. This was supported by our data analysis. In individualistic countries, people rank love as an important ingredient in a marriage whereas in collective societies, marriage is typically an arrangement that includes two families, not just individuals. It was also expected that individuals from individualistic societies would value novelty, variety, and pleasure (Hofstede, 1991). Consequently, individualistic Australians would mention entertainment services more than would the collectively oriented advertisers from India and Hong Kong. This was supported by our content analysis. Also supported was the expectation that Australians were more likely to mention their personality traits than Indians or Hong Kong residents.
An intriguing finding to emerge from this study was the insufficient mentions of money and financial status across all advertisers. It was anticipated that large power distance societies such as India would overtly mention financial status compared to small power distance societies such as Australia—this was not the case. For all intents and purposes, no one mentioned money.
Finally, two counter-intuitive findings deserve mention. In keeping with the large difference in power distance between Australia on the one hand, and India and Hong Kong on the other, it was expected that Australians were relatively less likely to make overt references to their intellect and occupational status. Content analysis of the ads suggested the exact opposite. Advertisers from India and Hong Kong made significantly less references to their intelligence and occupation as compared to the partner seekers from Australia. Other contributing factors such as the relatively low-context culture in Australia may have been responsible for these findings (see Hall & Hall, 1990).