Navigation Links
Marriage can threaten health: Study finds satisfied newlyweds more likely to gain weight

On average, young newlyweds who are satisfied with their marriage gain weight in the early years after they exchange vows, putting them at increased risk for various health problems related to being overweight.

That is the finding of a new study on marital satisfaction and weight gain, according to psychologist Andrea L. Meltzer, lead researcher and an assistant professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

"On average, spouses who were more satisfied with their marriage were less likely to consider leaving their marriage, and they gained more weight over time," Meltzer said. "In contrast, couples who were less satisfied in their relationship tended to gain less weight over time."

The study's researchers said the findings challenge the long-held notion that quality relationships are always beneficial to one's health. Instead, they said, the findings suggest that spouses who are satisfied in the marriage are less motivated to attract an alternative mate. As a result, satisfied spouses relax efforts to maintain their weight.

The article, "Marital satisfaction predicts weight gain in early marriage," is published online in the scientific journal Health Psychology at

The study was based on data from 169 first-married newlywed couples whose marital satisfaction and weight were tracked over the course of four years.

Marriage associated with weight gain; divorce associated with weight loss

Previous psychological research has established that marriage is associated with weight gain and that divorce is associated with weight loss. But the role of marital satisfaction in those changes in weight is less clear, Meltzer said.

Previous research also has demonstrated that marital satisfaction is associated with health maintenance behaviors, she said.

"For example, studies have found that satisfied couples are more likely to take medications on time and schedule annual physicals," Meltzer said. "Yet the role of marital satisfaction and actual health is less clear."

Meltzer set out to examine the association between marital satisfaction and changes in weight over time.

For four years, the newlyweds reported twice a year on their marital satisfaction and steps toward divorce. They also reported their height and weight, which was used to calculate their body mass indices.

Focus on maintaining weight is more about appearance than health?

Spouses who were less happy in their marriage were more likely to consider leaving their partner, Meltzer said, and on average gained less weight over time.

"So these findings suggest that people perhaps are thinking about their weight in terms of appearance rather than health," she said.

The study suggests young couples should be educated and encouraged to think about their weight as a factor of maintaining their health.

"We know that weight gain can be associated with a variety of negative health consequences, for example diabetes and cardiovascular disease," Meltzer said. "By focusing more on weight in terms of health implications as opposed to appearance implications, satisfied couples may be able to avoid potentially unhealthy weight gain over time in their marriages."


Contact: Margaret Allen
Southern Methodist University

Related biology news :

1. Child marriages: 39,000 every day
2. Study offers new insights on invasive fly threatening US fruit crops
3. Climate change impacts to US coasts threaten public health, safety and economy
4. Violence in Mali threatening survival of endangered elephants
5. Fox invasion threatens wave of extinction, UC research finds
6. Climate change threatens giant pandas bamboo buffet -- and survival
7. Climate change threatens giant pandas bamboo buffet and survival
8. UK butterfly populations threatened by extreme drought and landscape fragmentation
9. Climate change threatens marine environment in the Baltic Sea
10. Leisure boats threaten the Swedish West Coast archipelago
11. 100 most threatened species
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/3/2016)... 3, 2016 Das ... Nepal hat ein 44 ... geprägter Kennzeichen, einschließlich Personalisierung, Registrierung und IT-Infrastruktur, ... Produktion und Implementierung von Identitätsmanagementlösungen. Zahlreiche renommierte ... Januar teilgenommen, aber Decatur wurde als konformste ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... 2, 2016 Perimeter Surveillance & ... Systems, Physical Infrastructure, Support & Other Service  ... offers comprehensive analysis of the global Border ... generate revenues of $17.98 billion in 2016. ... a leader in software and hardware technologies for advanced ...
(Date:5/20/2016)... -- VoiceIt is excited to announce its new marketing ... working together, VoiceIt and VoicePass will offer an ... slightly different approaches to voice biometrics, collaboration between ... Both companies ... "This marketing and technology partnership allows VoiceIt ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- On Wednesday, June 22, 2016, the NASDAQ ... Dow Jones Industrial Average edged 0.27% lower to finish at ... has initiated coverage on the following equities: Infinity Pharmaceuticals ... NKTR ), Aralez Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ARLZ ... Learn more about these stocks by accessing their free trade ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Regulatory Compliance Associates® ... provides a free webinar on Performing Quality Investigations: Getting to Root ... CT at no charge. , Incomplete investigations are still a major concern to ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 22, 2016  Amgen (NASDAQ: ... the QB3@953 life sciences incubator to accelerate ... The shared laboratory space at QB3@953 was created to ... key obstacle for many early stage organizations - access ... the sponsorship, Amgen launched two "Amgen Golden Ticket" awards, ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... SAN DIEGO , June 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... partnership that will allow them to produce up ... (HiPSC) from one lot within one week. These ... their time laboriously preparing cells and spend more ... made possible through a proprietary, high-volume manufacturing process ...
Breaking Biology Technology: