This thesis explores the expectations and attitudes of unmarried college students regarding their potential future weddings and marriages. The study was conducted by distributing self-administered questionnaires to a random sample of 300 students at a small, private liberal arts college in the Midwest. The questionnaires addressed students' desire to marry, their expectations for the future, their feelings about gender roles, and independent variables such as their parents' education, their sex, and their annual household income. Eighty-two questionnaires were returned, yielding a response rate of about 27 percent. Four times more females responded than males. The results showed that although the majority of students desired to marry at some point during their lives, female students had given more thought and energy to their expectations of their desired weddings than male students had. Male students tended to express more traditional gender roles than female students. Students with mothers with lower levels of education expressed more traditional gender roles and were less tolerant of non-traditional marital name change than those with mothers with higher levels of education. Students with higher annual household incomes expressed more traditional gender roles in terms of childcare and housework responsibilities than those with lower incomes. Further research is suggested, with an emphasis on the opinions of African-Americans and other persons of color, as these individuals have historically been underrepresented in research on this topic.


Hurst, Charles E.


Sociology and Anthropology

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2007 Britton L. Eichenauer