Women with better looking partners suffer eating disorders

Oceane Deschanel
Julho 17, 2017

A new study appearing in the journal Body Image shows that women evaluated as less attractive than their husbands feel more pressure to diet and be thin than women deemed more attractive than their husbands.

The study shows wives who crash-diet to slim down are often driven to do so if they feel their husbands are better-looking than them. Among men, their motivation to look thin was low irrespective of how lovely their wives are, the researchers revealed.

The results reveal that having a physically attractive husband may have negative consequences for wives, especially if those wives are not particularly attractive.

"If we understand how women's relationships affect their decision to diet and the social predictors for developing unhealthy eating behaviours, then we will be better able to help them", she added.

Meltzer and Reynolds examined 113 newlywed couples that had been married less than four months and were in their late 20s, all of whom were living in the Dallas area.

Each participant answered several questions focusing in part on their desire to diet or have a thin body.

The couples also bravely agreed to pose for full-body photographs, which strangers rated on both facial attractiveness and body attractiveness.

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"Our study demonstrated that women relatively low in attractiveness who were married to men relatively high in attractiveness were more likely to diet and engage in behaviors aimed at reducing their weight", Dr. Andrea Meltzer, a psychologist at FSU involved in the research, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

On the other hand, the extra motivation diet did not exist among women who were better looking than their husbands or boyfriends.

The study advanced existing research from Dr Meltzer's lab that found marriages tend to be more successful and satisfying when wives are more attractive than their husbands. The evaluators varied in sex and ethnic makeup.

'It might be helpful to identify women at risk of developing more extreme weight-loss behaviors, which have been linked to other forms of psychological distress, such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse and dissatisfaction with life'. "I love you at any weight or body type,"' Reynolds said. These findings highlight the value of adopting a dyadic approach to understanding dieting motivations.

'Or perhaps focusing on the ways they are a good romantic partner outside of attractiveness and emphasizing those strengths: "I really value you because you're a kind, smart and supportive partner"'.

Reynolds added that women tend to overestimate how thin their husbands want them to be.

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