Determining underlying factors of assortative mating; comparing factors with individual variables and determining generational differences.
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Assortative mating is the non-random coupling of spouses who bear resemblance on phenotypic characteristics. The area has not been fully explored and many unanswered questions remain. This study served to determine underlying factors upon which couples assort on, and to investigate generational differences in assortment. Data from 1981 spouses was selected as a subset from the Generation Scotland: Scottish Family Health Study (GS:SFHS). Ten measures were included in a principal components analysis (PCA) with a varimax rotation. This revealed four independent factors. Only one of these factors was found to produce stronger husband and wife similarity correlations compared to individual variable correlations. Generational differences in similarity correlations were found for all four factors, and seven out of the ten individual measures. No previous research has investigated underlying factors of assortative mating, and very few have looked at generational differences. It is concluded that assortative mating is not as straightforward as early research suggest, with couples assorting in both a holistic and trait by trait approach.