Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Study finds that newlyweds who are satisfied with marriage are more likely to gain weight

Findings challenge notion that quality relationships always benefit health, indicating that satisfied spouses gain weight over time because they may be less motivated to attract an alternative mate
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 in the SMU Department of Psychology 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.”

Besides Meltzer, co-authors are James K. McNulty, Florida State University; Sara A. Novak, Hofstra University; Emily A. Butler, University of Arizona; and Benjamin R. Karney, University of California, Los Angeles.

The research was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health; the Fetzer Institute; and the National Institute of Child Health and Development. — Margaret Allen

Follow on Twitter.

For more information,

SMU is a nationally ranked private university in Dallas founded 100 years ago. Today, SMU enrolls nearly 11,000 students who benefit from the academic opportunities and international reach of seven degree-granting schools. For more information see

SMU has an uplink facility located on campus for live TV, radio, or online interviews. To speak with an SMU expert or book an SMU guest in the studio, call SMU News & Communications at 214-768-7650.

Margaret Allen | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>