Women with hot husbands driven to be thin, study says

Evrard Martin
Juillet 17, 2017

According to a Florida State University (FSU) study women feel more pressure to diet and be thin if they have an attractive husband, if they're perceived as less attractive than he is.

"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.

Next, Reynolds would like to explore whether women are more motivated to diet when they are surrounded by attractive female friends.

That extra motivation also didn't extend to men, who cared little about dieting regardless of their wive's attractiveness or their own.

"The results reveal that having a physically attractive husband may have negative consequences for wives, especially if those wives are not particularly attractive", said Tania Reynolds, doctoral student at the Florida State University.

The study, published in the journal Body Image, offers productive insights about relationships.

"It might be helpful to identify women at risk of developing more extreme weight-loss behaviours, which have been linked to other forms of psychological distress such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse and dissatisfaction with life", Reynolds said.

It examined 113 newlywed couples - married less than four months, average age late twenties, living in the Dallas area - who agreed to be rated on their attractiveness.

Researchers also found that men were rarely motivated to do the same, regardless of how attractive they considered their wife to be.

Each participant answered a questionnaire focusing in part on their desire to diet or have a thin body. These findings highlight the value of adopting a dyadic approach to understanding dieting motivations.

Some questions included: "I feel extremely guilty after eating", or "I like my stomach to be empty" and "I'm terrified of gaining weight".

To measure attractiveness, each subject had a full-body picture taken. A team of undergraduate evaluators at Southern Methodist University judged facial attractiveness, while another set of evaluators at FSU rated body beauty.

It concludes that in relationships, sometimes women fear that they will not be able to meet their partner's expectations.

The evaluators varied in sex and cultural make-up.

"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'".

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