Relationship quality and couples’ unhealthy behaviors predict body mass index in women

Jane A. Skoyen, Kelly E. Rentscher, Emily A. Butler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Research on the connection between relationship quality and body weight yields mixed results, suggesting the presence of a moderating variable. We tested whether the connection between four measures of relationship quality (conflict, ambivalence, maintenance, and love) and body mass index (BMI) was moderated by gender and couples’ unhealthy behaviors. The results showed that among women, those reporting good relationship quality had lower BMI than those with poor relationship quality, but only if they also showed little evidence of couples’ unhealthy behaviors. In other words, only the combination of high relationship quality and low prevalence of couples’ unhealthy behaviors was linked to lower BMI among women. In contrast, low relationship quality, regardless of couples’ unhealthy behaviors, and the combination of high relationship quality and high prevalence of couples’ unhealthy behaviors were all linked to higher BMI among women. These associations were not observed among men. The results suggest the presence of symptom-system fit—a relational pattern linking health detrimental behaviors and higher relationship quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)224-245
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Volume35
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018

Keywords

  • Body mass index
  • couples
  • gender
  • health behavior
  • partner influence
  • relationship quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Relationship quality and couples’ unhealthy behaviors predict body mass index in women'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this