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Collectively, these theories suggest that people of different ages may present themselves in distinct ways when seeking romantic partners.Based on the structure of adulthood, young adults’ self-presentations may focus on life tasks aimed at gaining a foothold in adult roles, pursuing future achievements, and investing in potential procreation (and sexuality).Elsewhere, Groom and Pennebaker (2005) examined online dating profiles of younger adults and found that women were more likely to use pronouns (especially first-person singular) than were men.Moreover, older women also may be a key in maintaining family ties or serving as a “kinkeeper” (Brown & De Rycke, 2010), and this may extend to their presentations to potential dating partners.Theories addressing age-related changes in motivation suggest that younger adults are likely to emphasize themselves, achievements, attractiveness, and sexuality.Older adults are likely to present themselves positively and emphasize their existing relationships and health.

Adults of all ages may share certain motivations to date, including companionship and romance.We identified 12 themes in the profiles using Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count software (Pennebaker, Booth, & Francis, 2007).Regression analyses revealed that older adults were more likely to use first-person plural pronouns (e.g., we, our) and words associated with health and positive emotions.Prior research indicates that across a variety of contexts, young adults use more first-person singular pronouns, indicating a stronger focus on the self, whereas older adults use more first-person plural pronouns, indicating a focus on connections (Pennebaker & Stone, 2003; Schwartz et al., 2013).We also examined gender differences in these patterns.

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