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

Tricia J. Burke, Ashley K. Randall, Shannon A. Corkery, Valerie J. Young, Emily A. Butler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1109-1130
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • conflict
  • eating together
  • romantic relationships
  • support
  • weight status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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