Women diet when they think that their husbands are better looking than them, according to Florida State University (FSU) researchers.
The study found that women judged as more attractive than their husbands are much less likely to diet. Researchers also found that men, no matter how good-looking, were generally less likely to diet.
“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.
“I think this suggests a potential cost to marrying a physically attractive man,” Tania Reynolds, a doctoral student at FSU who was involved in the research, told TheDCNF. “Women married to less attractive husbands, however, were not more motivated to diet, regardless of how attractive they were.”
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. Every couple was rated on a scale of one to 10, based on their attractiveness from a full-body photograph by two independent panels.
Reynolds noted that other research indicated women overestimate just how thin their partners want them to be. This causes them to inappropriately pursue dieting to an unhealthy extent. Researchers think the study could help identify women at risk of developing eating disorders.
“Even low level dieting motivations have been linked to worse psychological health,” Reynolds said. “If we understand the social predictors of women’s dieting motivations, perhaps we can better help those who turn to more extreme behaviors, such as disordered eating.”
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