Mixed weight couples ‘more likely’ to argue

Family|News|Relationships|January 23rd 2013

Couples in which only the female partner is overweight are more likely to argue than couples in which only the male partner is overweight, according to a recently published study.

Couples in which only the man is overweight experience no more conflict than same weight couples, claims the study, published in The Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.

The researchers note:

“…relationship satisfaction is lower for both men and women when the female partner has a higher body mass index (BMI) than the male partner …That is, being an overweight woman in a relationship with a healthy weight man might be associated with more negative relationship consequences (e.g., relational conflict) than being an overweight man in a relationship with a healthy weight woman, or being similar in weight to one’s partner.”

They add:

“For overweight women, being in a troubled relationship might be especially deleterious, given that poor relationship quality, or conflict, could compound existing weight-related health problems.”

The study, entitled You’re going to eat that? Relationship processes and conflict among mixed-weight couples, was compiled by researchers from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington, and the University of Arizona in Tucson.

They suggest that conflict amongst mixed weight couples may be directly caused by overeating or the overeating or be sparked by existing  problems within the relationship. However, there were fewer arguments when the overweight partner said they felt supported in their efforts to lose weight.

Lead researcher Tricia Burke told The Wall Street Journal: “That is significant because even though they are at risk for more conflict, there are communication mechanisms that can reduce this.”

Photo by Vintage Emulsion via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. Guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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