Researchers from Southern Methodist University tracked 169 first-time newlywed couples, keeping tabs on their marital satisfaction and weight over the course of four years. Newlyweds checked in with the researchers twice a year, answering questions on their satisfaction with their marriage and taking measurements on their weight, height, and body-mass index.
“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,” said psychologist and lead researcher Andrea L. Meltzer in a press release. “In contrast, couples who were less satisfied in their relationship tended to gain less weight over time.”
While previous studies have linked marriage with weight gain and divorce with weight loss, the association between marital satisfaction and those changes in weight have been less clear, Meltzer said.
The research was published online last month in the journal Health Psychology.