Two BYU-Idaho students studying psychology, Melissa Wilson and Chris Neinstedt, conducted a research study about the unique dating culture at BYU-Idaho. Their findings proved interesting as they discovered things they weren’t expecting to hear.
The study was divided separately between men and women. Wilson talked to the female participants, while Neinstedt talked to the male participants. Neinstedt found that when he asked “What is a quality date?” men primarily focused on the monetary value of the date. In Wilson’s studies with the women, the monetary value of a date didn’t come up at all.
“I thought that was interesting. I didn’t think it would come up whatsoever. Even in the men’s focus groups that we did,” Neinstedt said.
Maybe unsurprising, their studies found that religion plays a huge role when it comes to dating at BYU-Idaho.
“There were some completely different perspectives where they said that religion is important, but there were also a lot of women who were like ‘It doesn’t matter to me if they’re a returned missionary or not, it’s more about where they’re at with their testimony now,” Wilson said. “That was a big theme.”
Natalie Johnson, one of the female participants, had a unique perspective. At the start of the study, she was single and had only gone on a few dates with the man who is now her husband. What she learned from being part of a focus group is that being open to dating will make the experience more enjoyable.
“There were a lot of girls who were very closed-off to dating and it kind of sounded scary,” Johnson said. “What I learned from that is that when you’re kind of in a closed mindset about it, then you’re not going to have good experiences. But when you’re just in an open mindset and more go with the flow, then you tend to have better experiences.”
Wilson and Neinstedt will present their research at the Rocky Mountain Psychological Conference this upcoming spring.