Adopting a dyadic perspective to better understand the association between physical attractiveness and dieting motivations and behaviors.

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Body image, ISSN: 1873-6807, Vol: 22, Page: 48-52

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Reynolds, Tania; Meltzer, Andrea L
Elsevier BV
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The relationship between women's objective physical attractiveness and their dieting motivations and behaviors may depend upon their social environment-specifically, their romantic partners' attractiveness-such that less attractive women with more attractive partners may be particularly motivated to diet. Theoretically, men's dieting motivations should not depend on their partners' attractiveness. We tested this possibility using a sample of 223 U.S. newlywed spouses. After completing measures assessing dieting motivations, each participant was photographed; we used those photographs to code spouses' objective facial and body attractiveness. Results demonstrated that own and partner attractiveness interacted to predict only women's dieting motivations and behaviors. Less attractive wives married to more (versus less) attractive husbands reported more dieting motivations and behaviors. In contrast, men's dieting motivations were not significantly associated with their own and their partners' attractiveness. These findings highlight the value of adopting a dyadic approach to understanding dieting motivations.