Article Correctness Is Author's Responsibility: Sexual stigmatization of mental illness: The impact of sex, mental illness, and evolutionarily salient traits on the evaluation of potential mates.

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The stigma toward mental illness includes a strong desire for social distance. However, there has been little research on how people's desire for social distance applies to perceptions of people with mental illness as romantic partners. The current research used evolutionary psychology as a theoretical framework to investigate perceptions of people with mental illness as long- and short-term mates. Across three studies, participants evaluated descriptions of mates in terms of their potential for short-term sexual relationships and long-term committed relationships. Study 1 (N = 247) demonstrated that a diagnosis of bipolar disorder and promiscuous behavior during manic episodes lead to lowered evaluations of mates. Study 2 (N = 325) showed that a diagnosis of an obsessive disorder leading to low financial resources reduced perceptions of mate quality, but high financial resources caused by an obsessive disorder improved the evaluations of mates. In addition, a potential mate's mental illness and financial resources affected women's, but not men's, evaluations of potential for a short-term relationship. Study 3 (N = 344) demonstrated that a mental disorder that increased a person's need for relationship commitment decreased evaluations of potential for a short-term relationship but increased evaluations of potential for a long-term relationship. Across all three studies, people were more selective for long-term relationships than short-term relationships, and women were more selective than men. Overall, these results document the impact of both the label of mental illness and specific behaviors associated with mental illness on perceptions of mate potential. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)