Mixed weight couples experience more relationship conflict


You’re going to eat that?: Relationship processes and conflict among mixed-weight couples

Article and Relationship Matters Podcast

From Journal of Social and Personal Relationships

Relationship Matters Podcast Number 16 “You’re going to eat that?”. Dr Tricia Burke at the University of Puget Sound, USA talks about relationship processes and conflict among mixed-weight couples. The authors recognize how weight and health can be significant issues within romantic relationships. The podcast considers a study that examines relationships where one partner is categorized as overweight and the other partner is considered a healthy weight. It used daily questionnaires to gather information regarding their lifestyle, routine, relationship conflict and eating behavior to make observations concluding that mixed weight couples experienced more conflict within their relationship.

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Burke, T., Randall, A., Corkery, S., Young, V., & Butler, E. (2012). ”You’re going to eat that?” Relationship processes and conflict among mixed-weight couples Journal of Social and Personal Relationships DOI: 10.1177/0265407512451199


This study examines conflict among heterosexual mixed-weight (i.e., one overweight and one healthy weight partner) and matched-weight couples (N = 43 couples). Participant sex, eating together, partner health support, and negative partner influence were examined as moderators of the association between weight status and conflict. Using dyadic models, we found that mixed-weight couples, specifically couples including overweight women and healthy weight men, reported greater conflict both generally and on a daily basis, compared to matched-weight couples; however, general conflict was reduced with greater perceived support from the partner. Mixed-weight couples who reported eating together more frequently also reported greater general conflict. These findings suggest that mixed-weight couples may experience more conflict than matched-weight couples, but perceived support from the partner can buffer this conflict. This research suggests that interpersonal dynamics associated with mixed-weight status might be important for romantic partners’ relational and personal health.


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