The finding is based on a study by Catherine Mosher of Duke Medical Center and Sharon Danoff-Burg from the University of Albany.
As a part of their study the two researchers analysed 237 undergraduate students 80 men and 157 women aged 16 to 25 years to check whether personality traits influence students' life goals. They focused on the relative importance of romantic relationships and achievement goals in particular.
This involved them looking at 'agency', or the focus on oneself and the formation of separations, including self-assertion, self-protection, and self-direction, as well as 'communion', or the focus on other people and relationships, which involves group participation, cooperation and formation of attachments.
They found that in general, women tend to score higher on measures of communion whereas men tend to score higher than women on measures of agency.
This means that men were more likely than women to give priority to a romantic relationship when asked to choose between a relationship and their career, education and travelling.
The authors suggest that college women in this study may have been strongly committed to working towards a successful career and therefore hesitant to abandon their goals for a romantic relationship.
In contrast to women, men also appear to derive more emotional support from their opposite-sex relationships than their same-sex friendships.
Their paper will be published in the next issue of the Springer journal, Gender Issues.